A preliminary investigation into the fatal boat crash last week in San Francisco Bay indicates the pilot of the larger vessel didn’t see the smaller one and struck it from behind, police said Wednesday.
The owner of the 46-foot Next Chapter, a Bay Area resident in his 70s, has not been arrested in connection with the Aug. 3 crash about a mile offshore southeast of Candlestick Park, Brisbane police Sgt. Mario Garcia said.
The sport yacht crashed into an older, 19-foot boat carrying 30-year-old Minh Truong of San Francisco and his father. Both men were thrown overboard, and the younger Truong became trapped under their capsized boat and died.
“The facts are pretty much leading to an accident,” Garcia said. “As far as any major criminal issues, we’re not yet finding the direction of the investigation going that way.” He added that the pilot of the larger vessel appeared not to have been involved in any prior incidents.
According to Garcia, the larger boat docks at the Brisbane Marina, while the smaller boat launched from the Oyster Point Marina. Weather conditions that day were clear.
Damage to the smaller boat was consistent with the larger boat hitting it from behind and “going right over it,” Garcia said.
Complicating the investigation, however, is the fact that the survivors from both boats have retained lawyers and are refusing to talk further with police, according to Garcia.
“At this point, we have not been able to obtain detailed statements from either party,” he said. He said initial statements to first responders indicated “the pilot of the bigger boat never saw the smaller one, and that he was at the helm the whole time.”
“We’re still trying to find a way to prove or disprove those statements,” Garcia said.