AUSTIN (AP) — The fatal capsizing of a Texas A&M University sailboat last June was due in part to the school's inability to keep adequate records and examine and repair its fleet, according to a report prepared by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The report, obtained by the Austin American Statesman under the federal Freedom of Information Act, described internal reporting of groundings and other incidents as casual. It also said university officials were unaware that low tides at the marina at the Texas A&M campus in Galveston caused the vessel to rest on its keel.
Texas A&M spokesman Jason Cook told the American-Statesman that the university would need to review the Coast Guard's findings as well as the university's own investigation, which is ongoing, before reaching any conclusions about the incident.
The Cynthia Woods capsized when its keel and a portion of the hull surrounding it broke off during a race in the Gulf of Mexico. Safety officer Roger Stone drowned. Five other crew members spent 26 hours in the water until they were rescued.
The 52-page report provides a more detailed look at the Texas A&M fleet than a summary of the Coast Guard's findings released in December, according to the newspaper.
"Vessel's hull failed after multiple groundings, improper storage of the vessel on its keel in the marina and inadequate repair to known damage," the report stated.
"No procedure is in place to ensure the integrity of a vessel after repairs are completed. Until asked by (Coast Guard) investigators to take soundings, the marina manager did not know the depth of the marina where the … Cynthia Woods had been moored for approximately two years."
Only 15 of the 65 boats at the Texas A&M-Galveston campus survived Hurricane Ike, and those vessels are still grounded, Cook said.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.