Olympic medalist Andrew Simpson dies when America's Cup entry capsizes

Olympic sailor Andrew Simpson died Thursday when his team's yacht capsized during training on San Francisco Bay. (AP)

Andrew Simpson, a two-time Olympic medalist and a member of Sweden’s America’s Cup entry died on Thursday afternoon when the team’s 72-foot yacht capsized during training on San Francisco Bay, Artemis Racing confirmed.

Simpson, 36, was part of an 11-man crew aboard Artemis Racing’s AC72 catamaran that was in Northern California to prepare for the 34th America's Cup later this summer. All other crewmembers were accounted for, Artemis Racing confirmed on its website.

Simpson, a British sailor, won a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics as crew for skipper Iain Perry in the Star class. The pair also captured a silver medal in the Star class at last summer’s London Olympics.

The British sailor became trapped under the boat after it overturned and despite attempts by doctors to revive him afloat and subsequently ashore, he was pronounced dead.

“The entire Artemis team is devastated by what happened,” Artemis Racing CEO Paul Cayard said. “Our heartfelt condolences are with Andrew’s wife and family.”

Simpson and another sailor on the team were injured when the boat capsized near Treasure Island, San Francisco Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge told the Associated Press. Simpson, who was known affectionately as Bart, was quickly taken aboard an Artemis’ support boat. Rescuers, meanwhile, pulled all of the other member of the Artemis team out of the water. 

A member of the San Francisco Police Department’s marine unit entered the support boat and immediately began to perform CPR on Simpson, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The support boat was docked at the St. Francis Yacht Club, where attempts to revive Simpson continued. The resuscitation efforts lasted for about 20 minutes until Simpson was pronounced dead, San Francisco Fire Department chief Joanne Hayes-Wood told the Chronicle. The other sailor suffered minor injuries.

Winds were at about 20 miles per hour at the time, authorities told the Chronicle.

Last October, Oracle Team USA’s AC72 boat summersaulted into San Francisco Bay, thrusting members of the team into the frigid waters. Heavy winds caused the nose of the yacht to plow underwater, as the catamaran toppled over, sending its 13-story tall wingsail under the waves. Swept away by a strong current, the $8 million vessel was carried more than four miles past the Golden Gate Bridge before rescuers could control it. No one was hurt in the accident.

Following the mishap, organizers of the event said the setback to the defending America’s Cup champions would not impact the 2013 racing calendar.

Keep your eye on sports by following Matt Rybaltowski on Twitter@mattrybaltowski.

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