The sudden deaths last Friday in Rhode Island of three members of the close-knit yachting community continues to reverberate through the industry.
Authorities told news outlets that Jennifer Way, of North Kingstown, R.I., Louise Owen, of Wales, and Femmetje Staring, of the Netherlands, all 39, likely became confused by thick fog and the driver made a wrong turn, flipping the car into Newport Harbor.
The car was found about 6:30 a.m. Friday, sticking out of about four feet of water in the harbor at the privately owned Newport Shipyard, according to the Providence Journal.
Peter Wilson, co-founder and co-owner of Newport-based Marine Construction Management, issued a statement regarding the unexpected death of Way and her two friends, who also worked in the yachting industry in Newport.
“All of us at MCM are desperately sad at losing our colleague Jennifer,” Wilson said in the statement. “Jen had her 10th anniversary with us earlier this year, and during this last decade we saw her blossom and develop into the amazing, kind, caring, confident and knowledgeable woman she became.”
Way had started as a receptionist and grew to become “an essential part of our Yacht Management division,” Wilson wrote.
“A tremendous, unswerving and diligent employee, but more than that, a dear, dear friend,” Wilson wrote. “We are a small and tightly knit family at MCM, and losing Jen leaves a cavernous void.”
The three women became close friends while working in the yachting industry, Wilson told the Journal. Way was a yacht manager at Marine Construction Management, Owen had been working on the luxury superyacht Hyperion, and Staring had been working on another yacht.
“The other two women with Jennifer on Thursday night, Femmetje and Louise, were also astonishing, bright, delightful women,” Wilson wrote in a statement. “Losing any one of these remarkable women would be sad enough, but to lose all three as a result of this one heartbreaking accident causes devastation of immense proportions.”
“The global yachting community is small, and news such as this travels fast,” Wilson said. “As a result, calls, emails and messages of condolence have been flooding in from every corner of the world. All three women were highly respected in their fields and enormously well liked. We will miss them all terribly.”