Briton dies and six injured after yacht crashes into rocks off Italian coast

Authorities believe the "Amore" yacht had been sailing parallel to another boat when, for reasons that are unclear, it veered away suddenly and hit rocks.

yacht crash

Foreign news reporter @MikeRDrummond

Monday 1 August 2022 17:40, UK

Porto Cervo in Sardinia. File pic

A British man died and six people were injured after a yacht ran aground on rocks off the coast of Italy, possibly as it tried to avoid crashing into another boat.

The 63-year-old owner of the 70ft boat - whose name has not been released - suffered a heart attack after the vessel crashed in waters near the Sardinian seaside resort of Porto Cervo on Sunday night, according to Italian media.

Authorities believe the "Amore" yacht had been sailing parallel to another boat when, for reasons that are unclear, it veered away suddenly and hit rocks near the island of Rocche, south of the Li Nibani islands.

The man was reportedly thrown into the water and rescued by a boat flying under the Maltese flag which was nearby.

With the assistance of the coastguard he was taken in by medical staff but they were unable to revive him.

The other six people who had been aboard the "Amore" were rescued by a third boat and transported to the Porto Cervo port.

Four were taken to the emergency room, two in serious condition, Italian media say.

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A yacht capsized off Calabria. Pic: Italian coast guard

17 people dead and dozens missing after two shipwrecks off coast of Italy

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The wreck of the "Amore" was found half-sunk and has been recovered by authorities.

Read more: Briton fatally struck by helicopter blade while on holiday in Greece named as Jack Fenton British man found dead in Crete after lying motionless on sunbed for hours

The UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) says it is working with Italian agencies.

An FCDO spokesperson said: "We are providing support following a maritime accident in Sardinia, including to the family of a dual national who has died. We are in contact with the local authorities."

Related Topics

NBC 6 South Florida

New video shows moment tour boats crashed near PortMiami, injuring 13 people

The video shows the boat moving through the water when a second boat comes from the side and crashes into it, by lorena inclán and nbc6 • published february 27, 2024 • updated on february 27, 2024 at 8:37 pm.

New video captured the moments two charter boats crashed near PortMiami earlier this month, in a collision that left 13 people injured.

The video was released late Monday by a personal injury law firm in Miami that told NBC6 they are planning a lawsuit against both companies involved.

📺 24/7 South Florida news stream: Watch NBC6 free wherever you are

The firm, Mausner Graham Injury Law , is representing several of the victims in the crash which sent at least two people to the hospital. Their goal is to receive compensation for some of the passengers involved.

A spokesperson for the firm also told NBC6 that the case highlights the need for wearing life jackets and using engine cut-off switches.

The Hurricane season is on. Our meteorologists are ready. Sign up for the NBC 6 Weather newsletter to get the latest forecast in your inbox.

The firm's clients were visiting Miami from New York when they decided to enjoy a day on the water so they hopped on a speedboat at Bayside.

The video is from a person who was on one of two tour boats on the water around Fisherman’s Channel back on February 11th.

yacht crash

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The video shows the boat moving through the water when a second boat comes from the side and crashes into it.

Officials with the U.S. Coast guard told NBC6 the collision involved the "Obelix” and the "Thriller,” which are both charter boats.

A USCG spokesperson said the “Obelix” was operating illegally.

The owner of that charter previously told NBC6 that no one on his boat was injured, but he didn’t want to comment further.

The person who took the video was on the "Thriller." The attorneys said their clients suffered fractured bones, one lost consciousness, and another suffered a traumatic brain injury.

"Both boats in this instance just were not safe, they failed to maintain a lookout, they failed to avoid a collision, they sped and you can see on this video that our client was lucky enough to take there was an extremely gruesome collision that had safety been followed it was utterly preventable," attorney Thomas Graham said.

The cause of the crash is still being investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

This article tagged under:

yacht crash

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British man killed and six injured in luxury yacht crash in Italy

Reports suggest vessel may have swerved to avoid collision with another boat, article bookmarked.

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A British man has died and six other people are injured after a luxury yacht crashed near Porto Cervo, in Sardinia

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A British man has died after a luxury yacht crashed into rocks near a seaside resort in Italy.

The 63-year-old man, from England, was unconscious but still alive when members of the coast guard reached him near Porto Cervo, on the island of Sardinia , on Sunday evening.

However, the man suffered fatal injuries and died immediately after the rescue, according to local media.

Six other people on board the boat were injured but managed to disembark in Porto Cervo where they were seen by emergency doctors.

Two were assessed as being in a serious condition and taken to hospital.

The man who died is thought to have been the owner of the 70-foot yacht, according to state broadcaster Rai.

The luxury seaside resort of Porto Cervo sprung up in the 1960s and is a popular spot for luxury yachts

The vessel is understood to have hit rocks off the coastline as the group was sailing in front of the Li Nibani Islands at about 8.40pm on Sunday.

It is believed the incident may have happened as the yacht’s captain attempted to manoeuvre to avoid colliding with another boat.

The vessel, which was half submerged under water following the crash, is said to have already been recovered and towed to the port of Porto Cervo.

Porto Cervo is located on the Costa Smeralda – a stretch of coastline in the northeast of Sardinia famous for its beaches and luxury resorts.

It is a popular location for the rich and famous, who often frequent its yacht-dotted marina.

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After an $800k yacht pileup in Ballard Locks, a fleet of lawyers arrives

Paul Roberts

Jason Formo figures he’s been through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard at least a hundred times in his 43 years. But none of that prepared him for the chaos of late last May or the complicated legal fight just now getting underway. 

Shortly before noon on May 28, 2022, Formo and several family members were aboard his 53-foot motor yacht, Nor’Wester, in the larger of the two locks, waiting for the gate to open. 

It was a busy Memorial Day Saturday, and big boats like Formo’s were tied along the southeastern wall, with rows of smaller boats “rafted” off their starboard sides.

The gate had just started opening, Formo and other boaters say, when the Pamina, a 64-foot yacht directly ahead of Nor’Wester, gunned its engines and went hard in reverse. 

Amid the roar of diesels and the snapping of mooring lines, Pamina slammed into Nor’Wester “like a bulldozer,” striking with such force that Nor’Wester’s bow went over Pamina’s stern and into a rear cabin, Formo says. 

Behind him, in a very expensive illustration of Newton’s third law, Formo’s 53-foot motor yacht struck a 60-foot motor yacht, which struck a 59-foot motor yacht, which was pushed into the lock’s eastern gate, according to interviews and court filings.

Meanwhile, the smaller rafted vessels caromed off one another like “bumper boats,” as one yachting insider later put it. 

No serious injuries were reported, but a total of eight vessels were “ allided ,” to use the nautical term, causing upward of $800,000 in damage before Pamina’s captain, Brian Pickering of Seattle, managed to kill the engines.

In the relative calm that followed, Formo recalls Pickering apologizing profusely, but also “a fair amount of expletives” as other dazed sailors tried “to figure out what had happened.”

A year later, a small armada of boat owners, insurers, marine businesses and more than a dozen attorneys are trying to sort out that very question.

Admittedly, the lawsuit — essentially, a dispute among insurers over the bill for all that cracked fiberglass and teak — won’t be the weightiest matter heard in federal court in Seattle.

But it could be among the more complex, given the awkwardly large number of parties and the peculiarities of U.S. maritime law — to say nothing of the mechanics of what was arguably the biggest pileup in the history of Seattle yachting. 

A multivehicle crash is “something you see on a freeway, with cars, but not with vessels,” says Charles Moure, a Seattle maritime law attorney (and avid boater) who is following the Pamina case but is not involved. “You’re going to get into some complicated litigation.” 

Indeed, while a trial is more than a year off, court filings so far point to a dispute that has the same bumper-boat dynamics of the accident itself.

Start with the owners and insurers of the allided boats. 

Most have declined to discuss the case. But the four who’ve filed claims put fault largely on Pamina, a 40-ton, $700,000 luxury vessel, with three paneled staterooms, a full-size galley and more horsepower than a D10 Caterpillar bulldozer that is owned, through a limited liability corporation, by Pickering and his wife, Laurie Pickering, who was also aboard during the accident.

Pamina was operating “without sufficient competent crew,” states a Feb. 23 filing by Seattle resident Nicholas Leede, whose 39-foot sailboat suffered $62,117 in damage while rafted in the back row. 

Brian Pickering “was not at the helm” just before the crash, contends a Feb. 28 filing by Anahit Hovhannisyan, a Mercer Island resident whose 60-footer was two boats back from Pamina.

Hovhannisyan hasn’t yet specified repair costs, but does claim to have “suffered personal injury and mental distress” after being “narrowly missed by an airborne cleat that was detached in the incident.”

Formo has claimed $206,554 in damage, while a fourth owner, William Hansen, has claimed damage of $162,922 to his 59-footer.

The Pickerings and their insurer, meanwhile, lay out a very different narrative: Pamina, they say, went into reverse more or less on its own.

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According to filings, various control systems, including controls for Pamina’s engines and remote controls for its engines and bow thruster, “failed to operate properly.” 

In due course, the Pickerings and their insurer have filed claims against two controls manufacturers and two Seattle-area marine businesses that serviced Pamina shortly before the crash. 

Those “third-party defendants” aren’t sitting still, of course. 

Delta Marine Industries, a shipyard that worked on Pamina, alleges that any damage was “caused, contributed to or enhanced by [the Pickerings’] own comparative fault, gross negligence and/or reckless disregard of the consequences.”

Glendinning Products, a South Carolina-based controls maker, is more specific: “negligent and improper modifications” to controls equipment aboard Pamina “contravened manufacturer recommendations” and “rendered [Pamina] unseaworthy,” according to filings.

Untangling this game of three-dimensional legal hot potato will require extensive, expensive investigations. 

Sailors and other witnesses will be deposed. Damaged vessels will be inspected by forensic experts at rates of $500 and more. Thick reports will be written and exchanged among counsel. 

“It’s going to be a slog,” says Wayne Mitchell, a Seattle-area attorney representing Hovhannisyan and the LLC that owns her boat. 

In many multiparty negligence cases, if forensics makes it reasonably clear which parties are at fault — and which way a court would likely rule — insurers may push to settle rather than wage a costly, low-odds court battle.

“Insurance companies are very sophisticated entities,” says Moure. Using massive databases of similar litigation, insurers can calculate what any given case is worth and “are good at offering just enough money to make the plaintiff not want to run the risk of trial,” he says.

But Pamina has a few extra complications. 

The dispute falls under U.S. maritime law, which has unique things to say about who pays what in accidents. 

Under the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, if the vessel owner can prove they didn’t know and shouldn’t have known about a hazard, their liability is capped at their vessel’s post-accident value, no matter how much damage was done.

If the Pickerings can show they weren’t aware of any problems with their yacht, the most their insurer pays is $550,000, or Pamina’s assessed value after subtracting its own damage of $150,000. 

Runaway yachts weren’t the problem the liability limit was meant to solve. Nineteenth century lawmakers were trying to protect America’s nascent shipping industry from potentially ruinous litigation at a time when accidents were common.

But liability limitation has become a standard defense even in cases with very little connection to shipping, including those involving houseboats, Jet Skis and cruise ships. (Titanic’s owners, infamously, used the law to avoid all but a tiny fraction of the claims against them.)

And while liability limitation strategies frequently fail, they can add still more layers of litigation to already complex cases.

All that counterclaiming and crossclaiming might be avoided by settling, but the large number of litigants and of lawyers — 15 at last count — still points to a protracted process, legal experts say.

“Even if we settle it, it’s going to take months,” says Mitchell. “And if we try it, it’s going to be over a year.”

Fifteen lawyers working a multiyacht pileup in the Locks sounds like the punchline to a joke about Ballard. Or at the very least, a metaphor for what the Seattle area is becoming in the third decade of the 21st century.

For now, though, there seems to no single, agreed-upon moral to the story — even within the local yachting community, where news of the pileup quickly made the rounds and where the incident remains a topic of conversation.

Some might see the crash as a cautionary tale about boating safety in the Puget Sound’s challenging waterways, not least the Ballard Locks, which even experienced sailors can find daunting.

Since 2020, Locks officials have recorded three collisions, even though pleasure craft traffic through the Locks is half of what it was in 2000, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the Locks. 

“I think sometimes people forget what a problematic environment [the Locks] can be if you’re not really on your toes,” says Gina Purdy, a longtime member of the Seattle Yacht Club.

Others note the trend toward larger vessels.

Between 2000 and 2020, the number of vessels 50 feet and longer in Washington state climbed by nearly 75%, according to an analysis of state boat registrations by Anacortes-based BST Associates, which consults on waterfront projects.  

“When I started, it was older people who had bigger, nicer boats, because they worked up ‘through the ranks,’” says Neal Booth, 63, president of the Boat Insurance Agency at Elliott Bay Marina and veteran of Seattle’s boating scene. 

Today, Booth says, “someone decides they want a 50-foot boat, they go buy a 50-foot boat.”

Some say those bigger boats reflect the area’s rising wealth, not least in booming sectors such as tech.

Others says it’s also due to advances in control technologies. Features like bow and stern thrusters, remote docking, joystick steering and GPS-powered “digital anchors” have made it easier for less-experienced sailors to handle larger vessels, says Byron Shirley, a broker at Denison Yachting in Seattle.

While many insurers still require boats of around 75 feet or more to be professionally captained, for anything less than that, there are far “fewer barriers to entry.”

He points to a hot new model: a 62-footer with a $2.4 million price and all the latest technology. “One or two people can run that boat,” Shirley says, but adds that he worries the new technologies might be giving some boaters “a false sense of confidence.”

 * * * *

As for allided boaters themselves, many seem to have migrated to the role of observers, as insurers and attorneys dig into the case. 

Several appear to have their boats repaired and back on the water. 

The Pamina has recently been through the Locks and has berthed at Fishermen’s Terminal, according to an online vessel tracking service, but its current location isn’t available.

Whatever meaning they’ve attached to the accident isn’t clear, since most still won’t publicly comment on the crash or the legal case. Formo, after an initial interview, hasn’t responded to additional queries.

Still, in his initial comments, Formo expressed a mix of feelings that might resonate with his fellow Locks occupants.

Yes, the accident was briefly terrifying and also costly: Though his boat is fixed, his insurance premiums have doubled “even though none of this was our fault,” he said.

Yet Formo, a financial adviser, was also quick to concede how much worse things could have been in the Locks last May.

Nobody was seriously hurt. And despite the extensive damage, everyone involved remained relatively polite and even understanding toward the Pickerings, who in turn “handled the situation with class.”

Formo also acknowledged how little he and his fellow yachters had to complain about in the first place, given what else was going on in the world.

“This was in the middle of the pandemic,” Formo said of the accident. “People were dying all over the place. We got a few scratches on our boat.”

The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.

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  • What Is Cinema?

Inside Below Deck Sailing Yacht ’s Crash, and the Dramatic Aftermath

yacht crash

By Julie Miller

Image may contain Transportation Vehicle Boat Yacht and Water

Below Deck viewers have survived kitchen fires, nightmare charter guests , dramatic dismissals, drug scandals , and soured romantic relationships. But Monday’s episode of Below Deck Sailing Yacht, “Total Ship Show,” is unprecedented in franchise history, in terms of its sheer disaster quotient. Within the first five minutes of the episode, the Parsifal yacht crashes into a stone dock in high winds, destroying the end of the vessel and totaling Captain Glenn Shephard ’s already-dented ego. (Last week, Parsifal suffered a less serious collision. We hope the sailing yacht is not cursed.) The rest of the episode unravels like a high-paced thriller set aboard an out-of-control luxury yacht.

The villains: the shrill, gluten-free charter guests, who are too self-involved to notice the Parsifal ’s jacked transom door. The dramatic B-plot: the chef screwing up a five-course meal by serving steak after dessert. As if this were not enough action for a single episode, there is also an STD scare that forces an otherwise respectable woman to reckon with an indiscretion.

“It was almost like an embarrassment of riches,” said Below Deck executive producer Courtland Cox, of the chart-topping chaos in Croatia. “It’s amazing that this was all happening, but it’s also difficult to tell all of these stories in an interesting way within a limited amount of time per episode.” Some viewers complained that the season was starting off too smoothly, but Cox trusted the process and knew that such interesting cast members would yield climactic story lines. “With any great narrative structure, you want to have peaks and valleys that eventually crescendo into something interesting…. The yacht crashing, guests being crazy, and Jean-Luc [Cerza Lanaux] being worried about getting an STD, all that stuff is the seasoning.”

Ahead, Cox and Parsifal chief stew Daisy Kelliher take us behind the scenes of Monday’s bombshell episode to answer all of our burning questions—about everything from the crash to the onboard romances, including Dani’s pregnancy announcement.

Executive producer Cox was tucked away in a tiny control room on the Parsifal during both accidents, where he was able to watch what was happening from three different camera vantage points, and hear what was happening from the walkie-talkie dialogue on deck. Cox said that he knew that the Parsifal was going to hit the dock about five seconds before it happened—when first mate Gary King began calling out the shrinking measurements between the yacht and the dock, but the boat, because of the intense wind and swell, kept hurtling toward the dock at full speed. Because of a mechanical error that short-circuited the thrusters, Captain Glenn was not able to propel the vessel in the reverse direction.

As the ship sped toward the dock, the Below Deck producer juggled a contradictory range of concerns: the fear of a captive passenger aboard an out-of-control vessel; worry for his fellow shipmates; heartbreak for Captain Glenn, who was about to bite it in front of multiple cameras; and, conversely, the shark-like instincts of a reality-TV producer keen to capture the chaotic melee in all of its gruesome glory.

“The human part of me, my heart aches for Glenn,” Cox told Vanity Fair. Still, he continued, “My job is to capture what’s actually happening—so we told our camera operators, ‘Stay on Glenn.’ We don’t push right up in his face or get in his way, but the story in the moment was that Glenn hit the dock. How was he going to rectify the situation?”

In addition to seeing the crash, viewers also witness Captain Glenn’s spirit breaking close up—as the sweet Parsifal pilot realizes, in devastatingly real time, that he has not only incurred thousands of dollars in yacht damages, but has done so with a camera trained on him.

“I probably watched this episode 15 times in various incarnations, and every time I see Glenn’s face in the immediate aftermath of hitting that dock, I still get very emotional,” said Cox. “It’s a catastrophic moment for any yacht captain when you do damage to a boat. It’s the worst possible thing. And I also know that that’s compounded by a factor of a million because there are TV cameras on you.”

Cox has produced 16 seasons’ worth of Below Deck, and called the crash “the second-most intense moment ever on the series.” (The first-most intense was a near-death accident in 2018 during which deckhand Ashton Pienaar was pulled overboard after his ankle was caught in ropes.) “As a producer, it’s amazingly compelling. But as a person onboard, it’s terrifying…. But Glenn is a consummate professional. He didn’t try to deflect or make excuses or try to tap dance his way out of it. He went quickly into crisis mode, damage mode.”

Parsifal chief stew Daisy Kelliher said that watching the crash in the episode was worse than living it, “because I was downstairs when it happened. I have never seen a boat that crashed the dock or been in a boat that crashed the dock.”

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Speaking about Glenn, Kelliher said, “He was pretty upset at the time, but you quickly calm down. It was an accident, and the main thing is nobody got hurt. It’s like banging your car. You get the insurance sorted. You learn from it. And you move on.”

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How quickly did the episode’s events happen in real life?

The unfolded over the course of about 72 hours, according to Cox. “The boat hits the dock, it looks terrible, and Glenn’s like, ‘Well, the guests are getting here in four hours.’… The crew did a great job at kind of compartmentalizing, and putting the dock behind us as these charter guests come on. And the story becomes about J.L.’ s anxiety about the STD, and [chef] Natasha’s anxiety about these guests having crazy demands that are emotionally taxing on the heels of a traumatic event…. It’s exhausting for them.”

What did producers make of another unprecedented plot twist: J.L.’s on-camera concerns about a potential sexually transmitted disease?

This twist surprised even Cox. “I’m a fossil who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s,” said Cox. “What was going through my head was, ‘There’s a very easy way he could have prevented this—by using some kind of protection. If you roll the dice, you kinda gotta accept what happens to you. I’m not a heartless monster TV producer. I don’t want anyone to ever suffer or go through something they have an existential crisis over. In that moment, you’re hoping that it’s at least one of the lesser STDs that is easily treated.”

When did producers discover that Dani was pregnant? (The cast member revealed her pregnancy on Instagram last month.)

“Dani brought it to our attention when we were pretty far into the postproduction process,” said Cox. “Even once Dani found out, I think she kind of wanted to sit with [the news] herself. Then she let us know and said, ‘Hey, just so you know, I’m pregnant.’ We said, ‘Okay, great.’ I left that up to her and how much information she wanted to give us. My first reaction was, ‘That’s fantastic. Congratulations.’ Because she made it clear throughout the season that she wanted a family. The rest of that is for Dani to figure out.”

“I really don’t ask Dani much about it,” added Kelliher in a separate phone call. “I’m very aware that that she probably feels like she’s explaining herself to a lot of people. So I try and respect her privacy. We’ve spoken a little about it, but I figure the less I know the better.”

Do Daisy and Natasha eventually get to a place of mutual understanding and respect?

“I didn’t mind her,” said Kelliher. “On the show it looks like we hated each other. We were very civil with each other, and would laugh and sit with each other. It wasn’t constant arguing—that only came when it was time to serve meals…. At that stage, I had kind of given up, because I had tried everything. She didn’t want my help. She didn’t want to communicate with me…. I’m asking you if you’re serving five courses, you’re telling me no. I could stand here and keep arguing, but I wasn’t going to win in this.… We have a good relationship now. I have respect for her. But that [tension] never changes.”

What is Daisy’s read on the love triangle tensions between Gary, Sydney, and Alli?

“I wish I had been there for some of the conversations [between the three of them], because I don’t think they would have escalated as much,” said Kelliher. “I do think Sydney was pretty intense. I knew she was upset and understood why she was upset. If you’re a girl, it’s embarrassing if somebody chooses someone over you…. But some of the things she said were quite mean to Ali, and I didn’t really like that. If I had been there, that wouldn’t have happened because I wouldn’t have allowed it.”

“I’ve definitely seen love triangles. I’ve been involved in love triangles. This was intense because it escalated so quickly. I didn’t really get it. I guess maybe we’re all intense people—maybe that’s why you do a TV show about yachting. But I did find the whole thing a bit weird from all sides. I was like, ‘We’ve known each other [for] like three weeks…and don’t even know each others’ last names.’ Settle down.”

Below Deck Sailing Yacht airs on Bravo at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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Superyacht crash video shows 77m Go colliding with Caribbean dock

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Footage has emerged of a 235ft superyacht crashing into a luxury Caribbean yacht club’s pier, causing visible damage to both the yacht and the dock.

Onlookers were shocked last week (February 24) when a 235ft (77m) superyacht collided with the dock of Sint Maarten Yacht Club in the Caribbean.

Video footage of the incident shows the extent of the damage – while the pier took the brunt of it, the superyacht’s steel hull didn’t come off unscathed.

Computer malfunction was to blame for the sickening superyacht crash, according to local publication The Daily Herald , which adds that no-one was injured as a result.

Article continues below…

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Video: burning superyacht filmed in us virgin islands.

Footage has emerged of a burning superyacht that caught fire on Tuesday in the US Virgin Islands

The incident took place at around 1015 local time and the newspaper added that an insurer had already been to assess the extent of the damage by the end of the day.

If you think you’re having a bad day at work, spare a thought for the captain and crew who had to explain this situation to their yacht’s owner.

Launched by Turkish yard Turquoise Yachts in 2018, Go features a helipad, gym, jacuzzi, beach club, sauna and hospital as well as a master suite and eight guest cabins styled by London-based studio H2 Yacht Design.

She is run by a crew of up to 18 and her twin 2,575hp Caterpillar 3516C engines give her an estimated top speed of 17 knots.

Fjord 39 first look: maximised space and amenities

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  • Mar 4, 2021

Captain Makes Clutch Decision to Save Superyacht 'GO' in St. Maarten's Crash

By: Scott Way

yacht crash

Last week the brilliantly turquoise superyacht GO made headlines for crashing into St. Maarten's Yacht Club. Not once, but twice.

Naturally, internet 'experts' were quick to pounce. With a predictable lack of knowledge, many immediately labeled the crash the result of driver error. Surely no captain could crash one of the world's nicest boats into one of yachting's most famous ports. What the videos lack, like most viral phenomena, is context. The captain of GO was recently interviewed by The Daily Herald to discuss the circumstances surrounding the incident. Predictably, there was far more at play than operator error. If you haven't seen the videos, here's a few different angles of the mishap:

As for the vessel in question, the boldly turquoise GO is a 77m (252 ft) luxury motor yacht designed by H2 and built by the aptly named Turquoise Yachts . It is owned by Capri Sun mogul Hans-Peter Wild . Yes, that Capri Sun, the lovable juice in a bag with the world's most challenging straw. It is entirely computer-driven and packed with deluxe appointments including a pool, jacuzzi, elevator, gym, helipad, and steam room. She runs with a crew of 19 and has 7 cabins for up to 12 guests. It was built in Turkey and launched in 2018 with a pricetag of roughly $100 million USD.

As for the events that transpired, captain Simon Johnson was preparing to depart the lagoon via the rotating land bridge (which you can see in the upper frame of the second video). While roughly 50 metres from the bridge and holding position pending the bridge opening, an electronic error began pushing the yacht forward without steering input. The passage itself is precarious enough as GO carries a 13.5 meter (44 ft) beam and has only 50 cm (1.6 ft) of clearance on either side.

Johnson told The Herald , “With not much water between us and the bridge, I always set to align my stern and get parallel well in time for the bridge opening. We left the dock an hour before and went through all the checks. There was nothing different from the other times we’ve done this exit. I was in good shape."

“Then, when we were about 50 metres away and holding position, the yacht started moving mysteriously forward. There was nothing I seemed to be able to do; all the controls on the bridge were showing normal. I called the engine room and everything was normal down there. I found I had extremely limited control, almost limited to only the bow thruster, but with now only 50 metres between us and the bridge I had to make a decision fast."

The ability to prioritize outcomes while under duress is a valuable trait, and the sign of a good captain, and Johnson was able to calculate a remarkable list of outcomes before choosing a course of action.

“I certainly did not want to put the anchor down. That would have been disastrous. By the time the anchor hit the bottom we would have been 30 metres further in. Then we would have pinned the bow upwind, and slewed the stern towards the rocks and the road bridge.

“We have 160,000 litres of fuel on board. If I had done that, I would not only have disabled the bridge, but potentially breached the hull on the rocks beneath and could have caused an oil spill. My preferred option was to point the bow towards the yacht club dock, and beach her gently there. I had a crew member up front shouting a warning to make sure everyone was out of the way.”

After some initial investigation, it was determined Johnson had 13 roughly seconds to choose a course of action. Having made the passage at St. Maarten's 20 times previously, his knowledge of the boat and the lagoon was undoubtedly valuable.

“The fact that there were no warning alarms, no lights on board to indicate something was wrong was really scary. I know this yacht so well, yet I had 13 seconds to make a decision before hitting the bridge. The decision I made was one I would make again if faced with the same circumstances.”

While internet critics were quick to heap blame upon him, Johnson was justifiable in his criticism of the electronics responsible, calling them “ridiculously over the top” and without manual overrides. On GO in particular, there are 14 computers on the bridge with two more below decks. Insurers will now have the tall task of determining the root of the electronic fault, as well as assessing the extent of the damage to GO and the Yacht Club dock before pursuing repairs.

As for Johnson, “I’m proud that we walked away from a crash landing, and most importantly, there was no injury and the island’s arterial road bridge was not compromised,” he said.

The yacht's owner Hans-Peter Wild was also supportive, releasing a public statement in which he declared he is “extremely supportive of the captain’s decisions and performance. Personnel, economic, environmental disaster was averted for the island. I have full faith and confidence in the captain and am very grateful.”

You can see more photos of the impressive GO below:

yacht crash

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WATCH: Billionaire’s $90 Million Yacht Crashes Into Dock

By Jason Hall

March 1, 2021

yacht crash

A super yacht owned by Capri Sun juice tycoon Hans Peter Wild crashed into a dock at in Simpson Bay, St. Marten last week.

The 235-foot vessel experienced a computer malfunction before crashing into a wooden jetty and concrete dock, causing significant damage last Wednesday (February 24), Daily Mail reports.

It was unclear whether Wild, 79, was on board at the time of the crash. The juice tycoon is valued at $3.3 billion, according to Forbes .

Footage of the crash showed the turquoise super yacht GO -- which includes a helipad, gym steam room, swimming pool and its own onboard hospital -- slowly travel through the dock, which includes one clip of an onlooker repeatedly saying "oh my God" as the crash happens.

In a separate clip, a witness is heard saying: "It's hitting concrete now. What's going on?"

It has not yet been determined how much it will cost to repair the super yacht or the dock, but a manager for the yacht club expects the process to last several months, Daily Mail reports.

The yacht's captain was attempting to leave the Simpson Bay Lagoon when the crash took place at 10:15 a.m. on February 24. St. Maarten Yacht Club was been closed in response to the incident.

No injuries were reported during the crash.

Photo: Getty Images

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By SuperyachtNews 12 Aug 2019

Captain of 'Moatize' explains cause of Cairns marina crash

The 46m motoryacht crashed into a wharf in cairns after suffering from a technical fault….

Image for article Captain of 'Moatize' explains cause of Cairns marina crash

Footage has emerged of the moment the 46m motoryacht Moatize crashed into a wharf in Cairns Marlin Marina after suffering from a technical fault. The captain and crew were able to respond to the situation in an appropriate manner and fortunately no one was hurt.

The incident occurred when the yacht was docking at the Cairns marina at around 6pm on Saturday night. The vessel only suffered cosmetic damage but collided with the pier very close to waterfront diners and, as a result, part of the marina and a nearby restaurant have closed while the site is restored.

Following the incident, local press interviewed  Moatize ’s captain about the cause of the crash and his response. “We came [into the marina] and did a tight turn… and our starboard gear was stuck ahead when I selected the go astern,” he told local news outlet The Daily Telegraph .

“We used the bow thruster to come over into a clear vision, went astern to exit the marina, but it was still going ahead at all times. We took control in the wheelhouse to try and see if it was a technical fault on the controls, but it was still going ahead again. So, we did what we’re trained to in collisions: we shut down all engines, dropped an anchor and thank God we selected a nice spot where there were no personnel.”

Regarding the damage caused to the boat and the affected infrastructure, he added; “I am not even worried about the money and neither is the owner. We are just making sure that everyone here is still functioning, that no one is put out, and there is no injury – that’s our only concern.”

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yacht crash

Two boats involved in horror crash as sailor thrown overboard

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Rough seas contributed to the awful incident (Picture: BNPS)

Two boats were involved in a devastating crash and a sailor was thrown overboard during a yacht race.

A man was flung from a boat as competitors battled rough seas during the Round the Island Race in the Isle of Wight today.

He then desperately clung onto his life jacket before being rescued.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) rushed to his aid to pull him from the water despite the extreme conditions.

His condition is not yet known.

It’s thought that at least one of the boats involved capsized.

Wind speeds soared to 64mph before the shocking incident happened off Yarmouth.

The event, which sees boaters sail 50 miles around the Isle of Wight, normally attracts one of the largest fleets of any yacht race.

But the severe weather had a major impact this morning with 418 yachts retiring and just 153 finishing the race.

Elsewhere today, a British couple were thrown from a boat and seriously injured after it exploded in Majorca .

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected] .

For more stories like this, check our news page .

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Two pilots killed when world war ii-era plane crashes at father’s day event.

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Two pilots were killed when their World War II-era plane crashed at a California airport during a Father’s Day event.

Frank Wright, 67, the chief of operations at the Yanks Air Museum, was flying the twin-engine Lockheed 12A plane with his co-pilot Saturday afternoon when it plummeted from the sky and burst into flames at the Chino Airport, ABC 7 reported.

“Took a nose dive, and the first part of the plane that hit was the left wing, and that’s where the fuel was, I guess, and what happened was immediate explosion,” a witness to the crash told the outlet.

A World-War II-era  twin-engine Lockheed 12A plane crashed at a Father's Day event in California's Chino Airport.

The Chino Valley Fire District confirmed the deaths of Wright and his co-pilot, who was not immediately identified.

The Federal Aviation Administration  and National Transportation Safety Board said they are investigating the crash.

Yanks Air Museum officials said they were cooperating with the authorities on the case and added that their facilities would remain closed.

“Yanks Air Museum will be closed until further notice as our family deals with this tragedy, and we appreciate your patience and respect for our privacy as we navigate through this difficult time,” officials said in a statement.

Frank Wright, 67, served as the chief of operations at the Yanks Air Museum.

Wright was a member of the Yanks Air Museum’s flight team, with fellow pilots mourning his loss in tribute posts on social media.

“I only [k]new Frank Wright for the last 10 years but he always had time to sit down and talk planes and flying with me and if I ever had a mechanical question on how to solve a DC-3 issue he would always help,” Gary Stark wrote on Facebook.

“He will be missed tremendously in the warbirds community,” Stark added.

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A World-War II-era  twin-engine Lockheed 12A plane crashed at a Father's Day event in California's Chino Airport.


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yacht crash

How Jordan Belfort's 37m superyacht Nadine sank off the coast of Sardinia

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Coco Chanel was famously outspoken on many things, but yachting, in particular, attracted her ire. “As soon as you set foot on a yacht you belong to some man, not to yourself, and you die of boredom,” she was once quoted as saying.

Her solution was to buy her own yacht. A 37m with a steel hull, built by the Dutch yard Witsen & Vis of Alkmaar. The yacht passed through many hands, finally ending up belonging to the Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort, on whose watch she foundered and sank in 1996.

The yacht was originally built for a Frenchman under the name Mathilde , but he backed out and she caught Chanel’s eye instead. With a narrow beam, a high bow and the long, low superstructure typical of Dutch yachts of her era, she was certainly a beautiful boat. But she was also well equipped, with five staterooms in dark teak panelling, magnificent dining facilities, room for big tenders and, later, a helipad. A frequent sight along the Florida coast, she caught the eye of a young skipper called Mark Elliott.

“In those days, she was the biggest yacht on the East Coast,” he remembers. “Nobody had ever seen anything like it. I needed a wrench once and went up to the boat - Captain Norm Dahl was really friendly.” He didn’t know it then, but Elliott was destined to become the skipper of the boat himself and was at the helm when the storm of the century took her to the bottom off Sardinia.

Coco Chanel died in 1971 and sometime thereafter the yacht was renamed Jan Pamela under the new ownership of Melvin Lane Powers. He was a flamboyant Houston real estate developer, fond of crocodile skin cowboy boots and acquitted of murder in a trial that gripped the nation.

Powers sent Jan Pamela to Merrill Stevens yard in Miami, where a mammoth seven-metre section was added amidships. “We made templates for the boat where we were going to cut her in half, then she went out for another charter season,” remembers Whit Kirtland, son of the yard owner. “When the boat came back in, we cut it just forward of the engine room, rolled the two sections apart and welded it in.”

He remembers how the sun’s heat made the bare and painted metal expand at different rates. “You had to weld during certain time periods – early in the morning or late at night,” says Kirtland.

The result of the extension was a huge new seven-metre full-beam master stateroom, an extra salon and one further cabin – pushing the charter capacity to seven staterooms. During this refit, the boat’s colour was also changed from white to taupe. “No one had really done it before and it was gorgeous,” says Elliott. By 1983, Powers was bankrupt and the yacht was sold on again. She next shows up named Edgewater .

Elliott’s chance came in 1989. He was working for the established yacht owner Bernie Little, who ran a hugely profitable distribution business for Bud brewer Anheuser-Busch. “Bernie Little had always wanted to own the boat,” Elliott says. “He loved it. He bought it sight unseen – and I started a huge restoration programme, including another extension to put three metres in the cockpit.”

It was a massive task, undertaken at Miami Ship. “We pulled out all the windows, re-chromed everything, repainted – brought it back to life,” says Elliott. They also cut out old twin diesels from GM and replaced them with bigger CAT engines, doubling her horsepower to 800. “Repowered, she could cruise at up to 20 knots. She was long and skinny, like a destroyer.”

A smart hydraulic feature was also brought to life for the first time. Under two of the sofas in the main stateroom were hidden 3.6m x 1.2m glass panels giving a view of the sea under the boat. At the push of a button, the sofas lifted up and mirrors above allowed you to gaze at the seabed – from the actual bed.

Now called Big Eagle , like all of Little’s boats, she was a charter hit and her top client was a certain New York financier named Jordan Belfort. He fell in love with her and begged Little to sell to him. But he needed to secure financing, and in 1995, Little agreed to hold a note on the boat for a year if Mark Elliott stayed on as skipper.

With the boat rechristened Nadine after his wife, Belfort set about another round of refit work, restyling the interior with vintage deco and lots of mirrors, extending the upper deck this time, and fitting a crane capable of raising and stowing the Turbine Seawind seaplane.

Nadine also carried a helicopter, a 10m Intrepid tender, two 6m dinghies on the bow, four motorbikes, six jetskis, state-of-the-art dive gear. “You pretty much needed an air traffic controller when all these things were in the water,” says Elliott.

Belfort’s partying was legendary and Elliott clearly saw eye-watering things on board, but as far as he was concerned, he was there to safeguard the boat. “When Jordan Belfort became the owner, he could do whatever he wanted. I was there to protect the note,” says Elliott. “He is a brilliant mind and a lovely person. It was just when he was in his party mode, he was out of control.”

Nadine and her huge cohort of toys and vehicles plied all the usual yachting haunts on both sides of the Atlantic. But Belfort’s love story was to be short-lived. Disaster struck with the boss and guests on board during an 85-mile crossing between Civitavecchia in Italy and Calle de Volpe on Sardinia.

What was forecast to be a 20-knot blow and moderate seas degenerated into a violent 70-knot storm with crests towering above 10.6m, according to Elliott. Wave after wave pounded the superstructure, stoving in hatches and windows so that water poured below and made the boat sluggish. By a miracle the engine room remained dry and they could maintain steerage way, motoring slowly through the black of the night as rescue attempt after rescue attempt was called off.

Nadine eventually sank at dawn in over 1000m of water just 20 miles from the coast of Sardinia. Everyone had been taken off by helicopter, and there was no loss of life. Captain Mark Elliott was roundly congratulated for his handling of the incident. “The insurance paid immediately because it was the storm of the century,” he says. “I took the whole crew but one with me to [Little’s next boat] Star Ship . That was my way to come back.”

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Restaurants, food and drink, restaurants, food and drink | denver bar offers high-brow cocktails in a low-key setting, yacht club serves wine, cocktails, hot dogs for a truly neighborhood experience.

Yacht Club, a Denver bar, was decorated to look like a yacht ran aground in a swamp, according to owners Mary Allison Wright and McLain Hedges. It opened in 2021. (Shawn Campbell)

I was in a bad mood the first time I set foot inside Yacht Club. It had been a long day and I didn’t feel like fighting my way through a crowd for a basic cocktail. It didn’t help that the interior of the little building was decorated in a style I was snarkily calling “kitschy hipster-chic dive-bar modern.”

But it wasn’t that crowded on the day my wife and I sat at the bar and took a look at a menu with a long list of delicious-looking (and decidedly non-basic) cocktails.

One, in particular, stood out to me: Changes in Attitude, which was made with Scotch, Madeira wine, pineapple, coconut, lemon, buttermilk and a giant ice cube. I asked the bartender about the wine and he pointed out that there is wine in almost every cocktail at Yacht Club. He also patiently explained the other ingredients and how some of the drinks were batched in advance.

My wife and I ended up splitting three Changes in Attitude. It was that good.

The banana daiquiri is a signature drink at Yacht Club, 3701 Williams St., in Denver. (Photo credit: Gottlieb)

Over the next hour or so, I had my own change in attitude – not entirely surprising based on the Scotch – but also because Yacht Club began to grow on me. The decor now seemed more charming than overwrought; the bartender continued to be patient; the drinks were excellent and the music was good: an eclectic mix of yacht rock classics, ‘90s alt bangers and pop ballads.

The second time I visited Yacht Club was even better, and the third time, I felt right at home.

That feeling is just what Yacht Club owners Mary Allison Wright and McLain Hedges were hoping for when they opened in an old building at 3701 Williams St. , next to Brasserie Brixton, in 2021.

“We want to make people feel at ease,” Hedges said. “To make them comfortable.”

The pair had a long time to think about how to do that. They first opened Yacht Club in a central area inside The Source food hall in the River North Art District in 2015. When their lease ran out four years later, they began looking for another home and finally found one in March 2020. Luckily for them, it fell through. Otherwise, the pandemic would likely have put an end to it.

Instead, Hedges and Wright joined a “forced reckoning” in the restaurant and bar industry, spending their downtime asking themselves what they missed the most about bars and what they’d like to return to. The answers aligned perfectly with the space on Williams Street.

But there was another challenge. How to create a dive-style neighborhood bar that didn’t seem “too precious” or overly manipulated,” Wright explained. Part of the solution was putting the bar staff to work actually building the bar, something that kept them employed during the pandemic-y days before opening. Eventually, Wright and Hedges decided on the following design ethos: If a yacht took a detour through a swamp and ran ashore, and you could only build a bar using what you had on board and what was available in the swamp, what would it look like?

That now includes everything from prodigious plant life to year-round Christmas lights to nautical trinkets, funky decorations, a huge wine list and a healthy dose of Jimmy Buffett.

“At the end of the day, you can’t just create a dive bar. They manifest themselves over time. But they usually start as neighborhood bars and that is where we are,” Hedges said.

Mary Allison Wright and McLain Hedges (in chairs) eating hot dogs with staff of Yacht Club, a Denver bar that opened in 2021. (Photo credit: Shawn Campbell)

The desire to be “a melting pot” for the changing neighborhoods around them – Cole, Clayton, City Park, Whittier, Skyland, Five Points – is also how they came up with their menu, he explained. You can get cocktails for around $15 a pop or a shot and a beer for $7. You can get a bottle of French champagne for $250 or a Jack-and-Coke and a hot dog for $9.

“Normally, people choose one or the other” when they start a bar, Hedges said. “But we wanted to remain accessible to the industry, the neighborhood and anyone who comes in the door.”

Did I mention the hot dogs? A regular frank is $4 , a chilidog is $6 and one with cheeseball spread is $7. There’s also a caviar, crème fraiche and pickled shallot dog for $20 ( the ultimate “glizzy “).

“Meat tubes and alcohol are a tried-and-true pairing,” Wright said. Plus, since there is no kitchen, the bar staff can easily make them. “They are economical on space — and affordable.”

That combination has attracted a lot of attention as well. In 2023, Yacht Club landed on North America’s 50 Best Bars list, which is put together by bar industry pros. And earlier this year, the business was named as one of the 10 best U.S. cocktail bars by the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s Spirited Awards (an industry standard).

“We’re not on one of the coasts, so we push ourselves to go out and meet people … we travel and go to bar conventions. That means people are hearing about us and it gets our name out there. It’s a lot of hard work, but we want to bring people to this city,” Hedges said.

Hard work, so people like me can relax with a drink when we pull up a barstool.

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Two pilots flying World War II-era plane crash and die at event in California

Posted: June 18, 2024 | Last updated: June 18, 2024

Two pilots flying a small World War II-era plane crashed to their deaths near a Father’s Day event that one of them had just spoken at. The Yanks Air Museum chief of operations, Frank Wright, 67, was on board a twin-engine Lockheed 12A with a co-pilot when it dropped around 12.35pm on Saturday just after takeoff at Chino Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (Pictures: KABC)

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We spent $20,980 to see the Formula 1 Grand Prix live. The luxury yacht party and epic balcony views weren't even the best parts.

  • My fiancé and I splurged on a trip to Monaco for our very first Formula 1 Grand Prix.
  • For about $20,980, we stayed in Nice, France , and attended the races all weekend.
  • We also attended a luxurious yacht party and soaked in views of Monaco during the race.

Insider Today

My fiancé and I saved up to celebrate our recent engagement in style during one of the year's most iconic, expensive weekends: the Formula 1 (F1) Monaco Grand Prix.

The F1 Monaco Grand Prix is an annual race for drivers in the highest class of international racing for single-seater formula cars.

Though the sport is popular in Europe, it gained the attention of international audiences with the release of Netflix's Formula 1 documentary series, "Drive to Survive." In a 2022 poll from Morning Consult , 53% of nearly 1,900 F1 fans said the series contributed to their interest in the sport.

However, we've been dedicated F1 fans long before the series launched in 2019, and have always considered the Monaco Grand Prix the best race on the calendar.

Like many fans, we were willing to splurge to see some of our favorite drivers and were excited to attend the event this past May. We purchased a package from F1 Experiences for £15,220, or about $19,370, with a $1,610 yacht party add-on. The package for my partner and me included a hotel stay , two days of live racing, and transportation to and from the event.

From an unbelievable balcony view of the racetrack to cheering on a historic win, here's what the experience was like.

We stayed at a hotel in Nice, France.

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We stayed four nights at the Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée on the French Riviera, a 30-to-40-minute drive from Monaco.

Our hotel-room balcony overlooked the stunning Côte d'Azur region, and we were within walking distance of Nice's historic and charming old town.

We prepared for the high-energy weekend by celebrating at a yacht party.

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To fully experience the glamorous lifestyle in Monaco, we indulged in a yacht party on Friday night. This experience was an add-on to our overall package, and it cost £1,265, or about $1,610.

We boarded the boat and were greeted with glasses of Champagne. The bottomless drinks and canapés flowed as the onboard DJ pumped music, drowning out the sounds of nearby boats.

As dusk turned to nightfall, the partygoers seemed to buzz with anticipation for the excitement the weekend had to offer — and we couldn't wait.

On Saturday, I was excited to finally attend the main event, the Grand Prix. 

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On Saturday, we boarded a coach bus to Monaco and headed to the Ermanno Penthouse to watch the race. There, we climbed up 12 flights of stairs for a taste of Monégasque luxury.

The Penthouse's balcony terrace — overlooking the Port Hercules marina, stacked with at least 250 yachts — gave us an unbelievable panoramic view of Monaco's shimmering blue coastline and at least two-thirds of the racetrack.

From our viewpoint, we could see the start and finish line, up the hill toward the Casino de Monte-Carlo, the racetrack's tunnel exit, around the marina, and even the champions' podium. 

We felt the thrill of the race from our balcony.

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Saturday's qualifying session was electrifying. Throughout the day, we saw the Formula 3 and Formula 2 sprint races, which typically feature aspiring F1 drivers . Then, we saw the F1 free practice three, which served as a practice round for F1 drivers to fine-tune their skills.

Lastly, we saw the F1 qualifying race, which determined each driver's place on the grid for Sunday's event.

I did notice, however, that my fiancé and I seemed to be two of the very few true F1 fans on the balcony. Many of our neighbors appeared to be new to the sport and seemed more interested in selfies or sparkling wine.

We enjoyed food and drinks as well.

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Not only could we see much of Monaco from the balcony, but also we enjoyed warm hospitality from the staff.

The staff members served various snacks and offered as much Champagne, spirits, and soft drinks as we wanted. For breakfast, we had croissants and pain au chocolat with coffee, followed by finger sandwiches, sliders, canapés, and tasty desserts.

We even had a few celebrity sightings.

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Celebrating the same event as A-list celebrities like John Legend , Anya Taylor-Joy, and Kylian Mbappé felt like a real pinch-me moment — though we only caught glimpses of them in the VIP area on TV screens showing sports coverage, the same way viewers would see them on television.

The celebrities at the Grand Prix, which took place just after the star-studded Cannes Film Festival, made it feel like the spot to be.

We saw a race-car collision from our balcony.

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Unfortunately, the weekend wasn't all positive. During the first lap of Sunday's F1 race, we saw a massive crash involving several drivers who couldn't continue in the event.

On a more positive note, we saw our favorite driver win the Grand Prix.

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The highlight of the weekend was cheering Ferrari F1 driver and Monégasque Charles Leclerc on to his first-ever victory at the Monaco Grand Prix.

As Leclerc's bright-red Ferrari zoomed by with a clear lead on his last lap, a symphony of boats blared their horns, and the crowd erupted in cheers. Leclerc is also the first Monégasque driver to win the race in over 90 years.

We watched the Champagne showers and celebrations on the podium, and my fiancé and I shared a kiss (and a few happy tears). It was the perfect end to an unforgettable weekend.

Overall, we were so glad we got to attend the Monaco Grand Prix.

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Overall, attending the Grand Prix in person was worth the money for us. We saw our favorite driver achieve a historic F1 milestone on a legendary track along a beautiful European coastline.

Though I wouldn't say it's worth the splurge for those who don't follow F1, plenty of guests on our balcony were there for the vibes, the flowing drinks, and the lush atmosphere.

We'd consider attending another F1 Grand Prix in the future. Still, our first taste of Monaco had our hearts racing — and the experience will be incredibly tough to top.

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  • Main content

In Putin’s wartime Russia, military corruption is suddenly taboo

To be sure government spending reaches the battlefield in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin is suddenly putting high priority on purging Defense Ministry officials accused of corruption.

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Russia’s war in Ukraine has turned out to be a powerful anti-corruption initiative — at least at the Ministry of Defense.

For years, Russia tolerated rampant graft within its military and Defense Ministry. But in a bid to be certain that the country’s ballooning military and security spending results in more soldiers, weapons and other equipment and supplies on the front line, the Kremlin has suddenly undertaken an aggressive crackdown — purging officials with extravagant lifestyles or who have been critical of the military command.

Last month, President Vladimir Putin reassigned his longtime defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, to be head of Russia’s national security council. In Shoigu’s place, Putin appointed a former economy minister, Andrei Belousov, with a mandate to use the country’s growing defense budget “sparingly yet effectively.”

More dramatically, however, five top officials including a deputy defense minister have been arrested since April as the Kremlin sends a sharp message that neither excess nor disloyalty will be tolerated in wartime.

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The most senior official to be arrested, Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov, led an ostentatious lifestyle — typical of Russia’s elite but impossible on a public salary.

Ivanov’s taste for Western luxury clashed with Putin’s drive to forge a new ideology based on traditional values and in opposition to liberal, Western permissiveness.

Ivanov, head of military construction group Oboronstroi from 2013 until 2016 and then deputy minister of defense, has been accused of taking especially large bribes and of fraud. He led rebuilding projects in Mariupol, an occupied Ukrainian city left in ruins by Russia’s intensive bombardments.

Ivanov has partied with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov and other elite Russians, built luxury homes stuffed with rare antiques, and enjoyed annual summer vacations in St. Tropez with his family, where he allegedly spent nearly $1.4 million from 2013 to 2018 on luxury villas, yachts and a Rolls-Royce — details that were revealed in reports by the Anti-Corruption Foundation founded by the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Along with vast increases in military and security spending, which will rise to 8.7 percent of total economic output this year, Putin has demanded greater efficiency. The Federal Security Service or FSB, and the Investigative Committee, a top national law enforcement body, have established a special investigation force to root out military corruption — and more arrests are likely, according to Kommersant, a Russian newspaper.

Although Putin lately has emphasized his anti-corruption drive, analysts see no fundamental shift in his regime’s kleptocratic tendencies, including the Kremlin’s patronage for a coterie of loyal oligarchs and security officials.

“Everyone — everyone — must work as if we are on the front line,” he said, demanding a new sense of mobilization and urgency from top officials in the Council for Strategic Development and National Projects and commissions of the State Council on May 29.

“Everyone must act as mobilized personnel, and this is the only way for us to achieve the goals we set for ourselves,” he said, adding: “We are all aware of the fact that the main objectives of the country’s future are largely addressed on the front line.”

On Feb. 19, Putin ordered the FSB to probe corruption in defense procurement and state projects. In April, he exhorted a board of the Interior Ministry to step up the fight against corruption, which he said was “poisoning our society” and “stealing the money we need for the defense of the country.”

High-level corruption was intrinsic to Russia and was used as a means of political control, said Kirill Shamiev , a military analyst with the European Council on Foreign Relations, who wrote a report analyzing failures in repeated efforts to reform Russia’s military. “When someone needs to be removed, they can almost always use corruption and say this person has committed an offense and needs to be put in jail,” Shamiev said.

Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation obtained six years of emails of Ivanov’s second wife, Svetlana Maniovich , including embarrassing videos and images of elite champagne-soaked parties and vacations, as well as invoices for payments for jewelry, horse livery, furniture, designer outfits and yacht rentals.

Several months after Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Ivanov divorced Maniovich and was quickly attached to Maria Kitaeva, who had three children with another deputy defense minister. Both women are glamorous former TV hosts, who posted frequently on Instagram, displaying their expensive tastes.

Ivanov’s lawyer told a Russian court that the former defense minister set up a household with Kitaeva and she gave birth to a child — his fifth — in January.

According to the Anti-Corruption Foundation’s account of Maniovich’s emails, she held a birthday party in 2019 in Moscow’s elite Rublyovka district, where Peskov made a toast, wearing a Richard Mille watch on his wrist. Ivanov hurried over and covered the watch with Peskov’s sleeve , according to a video , which was viewed more than 9 million times.

Peskov did not respond to questions from The Washington Post about the incident and anti-corruption drive.

The foundation reported that Olimpsitistroi, a big construction contractor hired by the Ministry of Defense to rebuild parts of Mariupol, offered kickbacks to Ivanov: luxury materials to build a country mansion near Tver and other properties.

The case against Ivanov is based on the Tver bribes, according to Russian media. Ivanov’s lawyer told Russian media that “films” led to Ivanov’s arrest, an apparent allusion to the foundation’s reports. Two businessmen, including Alexander Fomin, co-founder of Olimpsitistroi, were also arrested, as were other military officials in unrelated cases.

Lt. Gen. Yuri Kuznetsov was charged with taking especially large bribes — a house and land — from a businessman, in return for military contracts. Investigators reported finding gold coins, a collection of watches and other luxury items in his home.

Lt. Gen. Vadim Shamarin, head of military communications, was charged with taking especially large bribes from a telecom company in exchange for state contracts. Another Defense Ministry official, Vladimir Verteletsky, head of the department in charge of defense orders, was arrested for abuse of office.

Also arrested and charged with large-scale fraud was the ex-commander of the 58th Army, Maj. Gen. Ivan Popov, who was fired last year after criticizing Russia’s military command in the wake of last year’s rebellion by mercenary leader Yevgeniy Prigozhin.

Investigators found no cash or luxury items in Popov’s home, Russian media reported, leading many to conclude that Popov was targeted for disloyalty. He is accused of stealing more than 1,700 tons of metal purchased for defensive structures on the front line.

The reassignment of Shoigu to another top position highlighted the premium Putin places on loyalty. Shamiev, the analyst, said the recent arrests were intended to instill fear and respect after Belousov’s appointment as defense minister.

“It also gives a message to the Russian public that all the failures in the war are because of the military, nothing else, especially not Putin himself,” he said.

Dimitri Minic , an expert on Russia’s military at the French Institute of International Relations, said the arrests were part of an effort to maximize military resources. But Minic said that corruption was used as a pretext to remove incompetent officials or to settle political scores. Often, it signaled infighting between agencies, he said.

A buildup of grievances over the handling of the war “open the way for all-out settling of scores conducted with the Kremlin’s acquiescence, against the backdrop of an influx of resources into the Ministry of Defense and infighting for their control and capture,” he said.

Other top generals with property that seems to far exceed what they could afford on their official incomes were investigated by the Anti-Corruption Foundation and have not been charged.

Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, denied any purge or anti-corruption campaign in comments at a daily conference call with journalists. “The fight against corruption is a consistent effort,” he said. “This isn’t a campaign. It’s constant, ongoing work.”

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Monster Hunter Wilds

Monster Hunter Wilds

Monster Hunter is known for its protagonists overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds in their pursuit of taking down the massive monsters that populate the region, but with Monster Hunter Wilds, Capcom may be taking it to a whole new level. While at Summer Game Fest Play Days, I took in an extended gameplay demo involving an Alpha Monster hunt. I left the demo excited to dive into this seemingly improved take on what the very popular Monster Hunter World delivered in 2018.

Monster Hunter World served as Capcom's big push into making a more mainstream and globally appealing entry in the franchise. The team worked hard to bring the franchise up to global triple-A standards and included several quality-of-life improvements, as well as a simultaneous ship date across Japanese and Western markets and additional language localizations. The result was a smash success, with Monster Hunter World currently sitting atop the franchise's sales charts. Capcom and the Monster Hunter development team hope to go even bigger with Wilds.

Monster Hunter Wilds

"For Monster Hunter Wilds, it's pretty much a similar approach to what we have accomplished with World in that we want to use what were then the most high-spec machines available to create the world of Monster Hunter in unprecedented detail and depth," series producer Ryozo Tsujimoto says. "That was true for Monster Hunter World, and for Monster Hunter Wilds, it's the same approach, but now, hardware has advanced so much in the intervening years that we're just able to go even further than we did in that direction."

From the start of the demo, the graphical enhancements are obvious. The lush environments, improved animations, and better faces are immediately evident as the on-screen character walks through the base camp populated with humans and Palico, but once the character hops on his mount (which are larger this time around), Wilds really starts cooking with gas.

Monster Hunter Wilds

A new tool that allows players to pick up items from a distance while riding a mount is just the start, as we have our eyes on hunting an Alpha Doshaguma. Venturing out into the eponymous wilds from base camp requires no load screen, and thanks to the day/night cycle, players must be intentional about when they start their hunts since certain monsters only appear at specific times. Because of this, the character must wait for prime Doshaguma hunting hours, so he asks his Palico friends to set up a mobile camp in the field. These camps are extremely handy, but they can be destroyed by monsters, so you must be strategic about your placement.

Before the hunt, the character cooks a meal via an extended cooking sequence that is, in the words of the demo's commentator, quite sensual. The detailed food looks terrific, and the character's facial expressions and sounds seem to reflect that it tastes as good as it looks. After feasting, the hunter is off to find the Doshaguma. Using the Ghille Mantle, the hunter sneaks right past the standard monsters and right up to the Alpha. He lands a heavy blow, and all chaos breaks loose. The giant bear-like monster alerts all its buddies, and they swarm the hunter in the enclosed space. 

Monster Hunter Wilds

The only way the hunter is going to survive this is by trying to thin the herd, but that's not going to happen in this tight space. The hunter calls upon his mount and makes a break for it. The four congregated monsters give chase. While they're hot on your tail, you have ways to slow them down or even take them out of the fight. You can lead them through Bramble or even other monsters' territory. In this case, the demo player leads them right through a pack of smaller monsters who don't hesitate to jump up on the four Doshaguma. This slows them down, but two stay on the hunter's trail.

After a few more maneuvers, the hunter loses all of the Doshaguma except the Alpha target. Now it's time to lead it through even more traps in hopes of slowing it down and landing some damage. First, the hunter leads them through Balahara territory, which results in the Balahara opening up a quicksand trap that sucks the Doshaguma into it. The bear-like monster escapes, so the hunter enters a nearby thunderstorm. There, the area's Apex monster appears and attacks the Doshaguma but does not finish it off. The hunter then rides into a nearby cave where boulders crash onto the monster from the ceiling. 

Monster Hunter Wilds

It's obvious that having knowledge of the map will pay dividends as you fight a powerful monster like this Alpha Doshaguma. "With the maps being so much bigger now – two times or more as large as Monster Hunter World – being completely seamless, my approach is to give the player as wide a toolset as possible and place these things so that they can make a choice on what kind of strategy they want to take," director Yuya Tokuda says. "This is a game you can play for dozens or hundreds of hours, and even though it's very big, you will see the same field so many times, and I don't want it to feel static, but we always have our, 'I know that if I go here, this is what happens. That's option A, and there's also option B: The way the field actually changes with the daylight cycle and extreme weather system means that you are always able to, 'Okay, well now that it's this time of day, if I go here, I know that [a particular monster] will be available for me to track. Or for the next time when it's a different time of day or different weather option, we've provided the information to let you decide how to take it differently this time. You can go through your old favorite strategies or just decide to change it up on a whim. I feel my job as the director or the designer is to give you the tools you need to hunt. How you use them is really up to you."

To prevent players from feeling overwhelmed by the options available to them, the Palico, who can talk this time around, will call things out to ensure the player is aware of what is at their fingertips. "They will call out these things just to make you aware of them, but it doesn't force you to do them," Tokuda says. "So, if there's a storm coming in, then one of the characters might tell you to watch out for that. [...] I just want to ensure that the players don't miss out on all the exciting new features we added because they didn't know what to look out for."

Monster Hunter Wilds

After the chase through the cave, the Alpha Doshaguma begins limping, but the hunter also needs to rest, so he lets the monster escape. The hunter returns to the mobile camp, changes to a long sword, and sends up a signal flare to call co-op partners. Together, they set up traps in the area where the monster roams. One hunter lays a pitfall trap while the others prepare their own ways. Once ready, our main hunter sneaks up on the Doshaguma and sets up explosive barrels near where it's sleeping. The hunter blasts the barrels, and they explode, serving as the rudest alarm clock. It wakes up, understandably irritated, and chases the hunters once more. The main hunter leads it into the pitfall trap, where it gets wedged in the ground, and the team unloads on the already-injured beast. The Doshaguma climbs out, but the main hunter jumps on its back, grabs its mane, and begins stabbing it from the top. Thanks to this maneuver, the pre-existing injuries from the thrilling chase, and the teamwork from the co-op partners, the Alpha Doshaguma finally falls, and the hunters use the carving knife to cut the carcass. The entire sequence was white-knuckled, breathless, and edge-of-my-seat thrilling, and I can't wait to undertake similar chases once I have the game in my possession.

When Monster Hunter World arrived in 2018, I was excited to finally give the series a shot. I liked what I played, but I didn't make it very far into the campaign. After leaving my Monster Hunter Wilds demo and speaking with the creators, I am ready to download World and its Iceborne expansion in anticipation of Monster Hunter Wilds' 2025 release.

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