Minute’s silence following death aboard Clipper yacht

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A minute’s silence was observed on the Londonderry following the tragic death of English sailor, Andrew Ashman, aged 49, who was struck on the head by rigging on board the South African Ichorcoal Clipper in the Western Atlantic.

Mr Ashman died on Saturday, September 5, following the fatal accident.

Mayor of Derry and Strabane District Council, Elisha McCallion expressed her heartfelt regret and sadness.

She said: “I was so shocked and saddened to hear this news earlier today and would like to extend my condolences, and those of the people of the city and district, to Andrew’s family at this extremely sad time.

“Our thoughts are also with the other crew members and everyone associated with the Clipper Race family, who are no doubt totally devastated at this tragic event.

“I will be making contact with the skipper and crew of the Derry-Londonderry-Doire and Clipper Ventures over the weekend to express our condolences and to provide any support and assistance we can.”

The boat’s skipper Darren Ladd reported that Andy was involved in reefing the main sail, reducing its sail area, in moderate seas just after midnight local time in a strong breeze building to Force 6 (24-30 mph / 21-27 knots), approximately 120 nautical miles off the Portuguese coast heading south towards Brazil in the first leg of the race.

Andy was knocked unconscious by the mainsheet and possibly the boom (although not confirmed).

He was given immediate medical assistance and attempted resuscitation but failed to regain consciousness. The boat linked immediately by satellite phone to the medical team at Praxes Medical Group, the Clipper Race remote telemedicine support service based in Halifax, Canada, where a doctor provided additional advice and guidance during the emergency.

A full investigation will be carried out, as is standard practice, into the details of this tragic incident in cooperation with the appropriate authorities.

CV21 Ichorcoal diverted to northern Portugal to a suitable marina afterr the accident.

The yacht’s crew has decided after some deliberation to continue the race around the world.