Message from the CEO of IchorCoal, Ms Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita:
On behalf of the Supervisory and Management board of IchorCoal, we extend our sincere and deepest condolences to the family of Mr Andrew Ashman, a crew member aboard the IchorCoal-sponsored yacht (CV21) who was fatally injured at sea on 5 September 23015 at 11:00 UTC during the Clipper Round the World Race. We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident and we share this difficult time with Mr Ashman’s family, friends and colleagues. Our thoughts and support remain with the yacht’s crew members who are bravely continuing the race to honour the memory of Mr Ashman. Details pertaining to the accident and additional information can be found in the race organiser’s media statement below:
OFFICIAL PRESS STATEMENT: 1200 HRS UK BST (1100 HRS UTC) SATURDAY 5 SEPTEMBER 2015
FATALITY ABOARD CLIPPER RACE YACHT CV21 (ICHORCOAL):
Andrew Ashman (49) from Orpington, Kent (Greater London area) UK - Next of Kin have been informed.
We are deeply saddened to report the death of crew member Mr Andrew Ashman (49) a paramedic from Orpington, Kent. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.
Mr Ashman was an experienced yachtsman and was one of the crew aboard the Clipper Race yacht CV21, registered in Portsmouth, and branded by its South African team sponsor as IchorCoal. All other crew are safe and well.
The boat’s skipper Darren Ladd reports that Mr Ashman 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.
Mr Ashman was knocked unconscious by the mainsheet and possibly the boom (although not confirmed). Mr Ashman 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 is diverting to northern Portugal to a suitable marina, to be confirmed, in the Porto area and is anticipated to arrive in the early hours of tomorrow morning, Sunday 6 September 2015.
The Clipper Race was established almost 20 years ago and this is its tenth edition. This is the first fatality in the history of the race. Over 3,300 amateur crew have been trained and participated in previous races. 700 crew are due to participate in the 2015-16 edition which left London at the end of August.
Clipper Race Founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston stated: “This is extremely sad news and my heart goes out to his bereaved family and friends, and to his fellow crew who have come to know Andrew with great affection during his training and the early days of this race. Safety is always our utmost priority, as our record shows, and we shall investigate the incident immediately in full cooperation with the authorities.”
Mr Ashman was single, with no dependents. His Family has been informed. He was due to participate in the current race to Brazil, the Southern Ocean and USA coast-to-coast legs of the Clipper 2015-16 Race.
Mr Ashman had enjoyed sailing since joining the London Sailing project when he was 16. He went on to complete his Competent Crew, Day Skipper, Yachtmaster Theory and Coastal Skipper courses.
The Clipper Race fleet is owned and operated by Clipper Ventures. It comprises twelve identical yachts under the command of highly experienced professional skippers.