US couple whose yacht was hijacked by prisoners were likely thrown overboard, authorities say

An American couple who was feared dead after their catamaran yacht was hijacked by three escaped prisoners were likely thrown overboard in the Caribbean Sea, authorities said Monday.

Ralph Hendry, 66, and his wife, Kathy Brandel, 71, were last known to be near Grand Anse Beach in Grenada. Their catamaran, named "Simplicity," was found abandoned in St. Vincent and there were signs of violence at the scene, according to Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force spokesperson Junior Simmons.

Although family, friends, and members of the sailing community had hoped the pair was still alive, police in St. Vincent and the Grenadines said Hendry and Brandel were likely thrown into the ocean when their vessel was hijacked. "Based on the investigation thus far, it is presumed that Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel are deceased," Simmons said in a  video statement Monday .

Don McKenzie, police commissioner of the Royal Grenada Police Force, said at a news conference Monday that the three prisoners escaped on Feb. 18 from the South St. George Police Station. They hijacked the catamaran on the following day and traveled to the nearby island of St. Vincent, where they were arrested last Wednesday, he said.

Police: Prisoners 'disposed' occupants of Simplicity

After escaping from the South St. George Police Station, McKenzie said the three prisoners "commandeered" the catamaran, which had two U.S. citizens on board, Hendry and Brandel. The couple were likely thrown into the ocean and died, police in Grenada said.

“Information suggests that while traveling between Grenada and St Vincent, they disposed of the occupants,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie added that while police have "nothing conclusive" to prove that the couple was dead, he cited a "low probability" they were alive.

The suspects are being investigated for several criminal acts, including "bodily harm to the couple," according to Simmons. Authorities discovered signs of violence on the couple’s boat after it was found abandoned, he said.

"Several items were strewn on the deck and in the cabin, and a red substance that resembles blood was seen on board," Simmons said.

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Police investigating prisoners' escape

According to the Royal Grenada Police Force, the escaped prisoners were identified as Ron Mitchell, 30; Trevon Robertson, 19; and Abita Stanislaus, 25.

All three were arrested and charged in December with one count of robbery with violence. Mitchell also was charged with one count of rape, three counts of attempted rape, and two counts of indecent assault and causing harm, police said.

McKenzie said police have launched an investigation into the escape and are looking into whether it was "a system failure" or a case of a "slip up."

"All aspects of that investigation are on the table," he said, adding that the police holding station where the three men were being held has "sufficient safety to prevent an incident like that (from) occurring."

The three men appeared in court in St. Vincent on Monday and pleaded guilty to four counts each of immigration-related charges, including entering the island as a "prohibited immigrant" with no passport, according to Simmons. They are scheduled to be sentenced on those charges in March.

Simplicity discovered by paddle-boarder near St. Vincent

The Salty Dawg Sailing Association said it was alerted by a cruising skipper about Simplicity, which was found "anchored and abandoned" off a beach on the island of St. Vincent. The association added that its live member’s tracking map showed the vessel anchored in Grenada before it moved to its last anchorage off St. Vincent.

"The good Samaritan had boarded the boat and noted that the owners … were not on board and found evidence of apparent violence," the association said in a statement. 

People reported that a sailing captain was paddle-boarding near St. Vincent when he noticed the catamaran with a broken sail. When he boarded Simplicity, he found the deck covered in blood and two passports belonging to Brandel and Hendry, according to People.

The St. Vincent Coast Guard took possession of Simplicity and local police are investigating with the U.S. Embassy and the Grenada police, according to the association.

Family, sailing community mourns couple's disappearance

According to a GoFundMe page raising money for the couple's families, Hendry and Brandel were "seasoned sailors who lived on their beloved catamaran." The pair spent their retirement sailing, the GoFundMe page states.

"This heartbreaking tragedy has left not only the sailing community, but also their families, shattered," the GoFundMe page states, adding that Brandel had recently welcomed her first grandchild.

The couple had sailed their yacht in last year's Caribbean Rally from Hampton, Virginia, to Antigua, and were spending the winter cruising in the eastern Caribbean, the Salty Dawg Sailing Association said. The association noted that the couple were veteran cruisers and longtime members of the association from its earliest days.

"Warm-hearted and capable, they both contributed to building the SDSA and Kathy sat on the association’s board for two years," the association said.

In a statement from the couple's families on Saturday, they thanked authorities and those who helped gather information.

"It means so much to us that so many people cared for Ralph and Kathy as friends and fellow cruisers that they are willing to stop and help in whatever way possible," the couple's sons, Bryan Hendry and Nick Buro, said.

Travel advisories near the Caribbean

Both Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are listed under a Level 1 travel advisory, according to the U.S. State Department. A Level 1 travel advisory urges U.S. citizens to take normal precautions in the area.

Other Caribbean islands are more dangerous, with Level 2 and 3 advisories in effect for the Bahamas and Jamaica, respectively. The advisory for the Bahamas was issued last month , warning travelers to "exercise increased caution" due to crime in some areas.

A security alert posted by the  U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas also advised U.S. citizens to be "aware that 18 murders have occurred in Nassau since the beginning of 2024." The alert warns that murders have occurred at all hours including in broad daylight on the streets.

Contributing: Gabe Hauari, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

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Virginia news | caribbean officials search for 2 people who were on yacht allegedly hijacked by 3 escaped prisoners.

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By DÁNICA COTO (Associated Press)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Authorities in the eastern Caribbean said they were trying to locate two people believed to be U.S. citizens who were aboard a yacht that was hijacked by three escaped prisoners from Grenada.

The Royal Grenada Police Force said in a statement released Friday that they were working on leads “that suggest” the two occupants of the yacht might have been killed.

“This investigation is in its infancy stage,” police said.

The nonprofit Salty Dawg Sailing Association identified the owners as Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel. It said they were “veteran cruisers” and longtime members of the association, calling them “warmhearted and capable.” A relative of Hendry didn’t return a message seeking comment Saturday.

The association said a cruising skipper had contacted the association about a member’s yacht, Simplicity, that was found “anchored and abandoned” off a beach on the island of St. Vincent.

“The good Samaritan had boarded the boat and noted that the owners … were not onboard and found evidence of apparent violence,” the association said in a statement Thursday.

The association said Hendry and Brandel had sailed the yacht in last year’s Caribbean Rally from Hampton, Virginia, to Antigua, and were spending the winter cruising in the eastern Caribbean.

“This is a very upsetting event and details are still unconfirmed by the authorities, but this does appear to be a tragic event,” said Bob Osborn, the association’s president. “In all my years of cruising the Caribbean, I have never heard of anything like this.”

Family members of those missing met with authorities in St. Vincent on Saturday, where they were seen boarding the yacht that was hijacked. It was being guarded by officials, one of whom was wearing latex gloves.

Hendry’s family issued a statement Saturday thanking police, local coast guards and all those who helped authorities gather information.

“It means so much to us that so many people cared for Ralph and Kathy as friends and fellow cruisers that they are willing to stop and help in whatever way possible,” the family said.

They also asked that all those trying to conduct independent searches to “stand down.”

“The only way we feel this situation could be worse would be if anyone was hurt or endangered trying to conduct searches,” the family said.

Authorities in Grenada said they had dispatched senior investigators and a forensic specialist to the nearby island of St. Vincent, where the escaped prisoners were arrested Wednesday.

The prisoners, ages 19, 25 and 30, were charged a couple of months ago with one count of robbery with violence. The eldest inmate also was charged with one count of rape, three counts of attempted rape and two counts of indecent assault and causing harm, police in Grenada said.

The three men escaped from their holding cell Feb. 18, according to police.

Authorities said a preliminary investigation suggested the three men seized the yacht at Grenada’s capital, St. George’s, and traveled to St. Vincent.

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2 Americans believed dead after 3 Grenadian escapees hijacked their yacht, police say

Three violent crime suspects might have killed two people aboard a yacht, possibly Americans, during an escape from Grenada to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, police said Thursday.

The suspects were being held at the South Saint George Police Station in Grenada when they escaped on Sunday and were recaptured on the nearby island nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on Wednesday, according to a statement by the Royal Grenada Police Force.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines investigators believe the men arrived there on a yacht taken from a dock near Saint George, police in Grenada said.

From Left, Trevon Robertson, Ron Mitchell, Abita Stanislaus

And the "RGPF is currently working on leads that suggest that the two occupants of the yacht may have been killed in the process," police said .

The RGPF added: "It is believed that the occupants of the yacht were American citizens."

“U.S. authorities are coordinating with local law enforcement officials on this incident," a State Department spokesperson told NBC News on Friday. “We do not comment on ongoing investigations.”

The welfare of U.S. citizens abroad is the State Department's highest priority, the official said.

“We stand ready to provide appropriate assistance to U.S. citizens in need and to their families,” the spokesperson said.

 Joan Conover, president of the Seven Seans Cruising Association, fears the impact the deadly incident could have on the greater boating community.

"It will concern all cruisers unless the situation protection improves," said Conover, head of the advocacy group for recreational boat operators worldwide.

Ron Mitchell, 30, Trevon Robertson, 19, and Abita Stanislaus, 25, had all been charged with one count of robbery with violence, police said.

Mitchell had been additionally charged with a count of rape, three counts of attempted rape, two counts of indecent assault and causing harm, police said.

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David K. Li is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.

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Abigail Williams is a producer and reporter for NBC News covering the State Department.

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Caribbean Officials Search for 2 People Who Were on Yacht Allegedly Hijacked by 3 Escaped Prisoners

Authorities in the eastern Caribbean say they are trying to locate two people believed to be U.S. citizens who were aboard a yacht hijacked by three escaped prisoners from Grenada

Kenton X. Chance

Kenton X. Chance

Investigators from Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines stand aboard the yacht "Simplicity", that they say was hijacked by 3 escaped prisoners with two people aboard, now anchored at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coastguard Service Calliaqua Base, in Calliaqua, St. Vincent, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. Authorities in the eastern Caribbean said they were trying to locate two people believed to be U.S. citizens who were aboard the yacht that was hijacked by the three escaped prisoners from Grenada. (AP Photo/Kenton X. Chance)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Authorities in the eastern Caribbean said they were trying to locate two people believed to be U.S. citizens who were aboard a yacht that was hijacked by three escaped prisoners from Grenada.

The Royal Grenada Police Force said in a statement released Friday that they were working on leads “that suggest” the two occupants of the yacht might have been killed.

“This investigation is in its infancy stage,” police said.

The nonprofit Salty Dawg Sailing Association identified the owners as Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel. It said they were “veteran cruisers” and longtime members of the association, calling them “warmhearted and capable.” A relative of Hendry didn't return a message seeking comment Saturday.

The association said a cruising skipper had contacted the association about a member’s yacht, Simplicity, that was found “anchored and abandoned” off a beach on the island of St. Vincent.

“The good Samaritan had boarded the boat and noted that the owners … were not onboard and found evidence of apparent violence,” the association said in a statement Thursday.

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The association said Hendry and Brandel had sailed the yacht in last year’s Caribbean Rally from Hampton, Virginia , to Antigua, and were spending the winter cruising in the eastern Caribbean.

“This is a very upsetting event and details are still unconfirmed by the authorities, but this does appear to be a tragic event,” said Bob Osborn, the association’s president. “In all my years of cruising the Caribbean, I have never heard of anything like this.”

Family members of those missing met with authorities in St. Vincent on Saturday, where they were seen boarding the yacht that was hijacked. It was being guarded by officials, one of whom was wearing latex gloves.

Hendry’s family issued a statement Saturday thanking police, local coast guards and all those who helped authorities gather information.

“It means so much to us that so many people cared for Ralph and Kathy as friends and fellow cruisers that they are willing to stop and help in whatever way possible,” the family said.

They also asked that all those trying to conduct independent searches to “stand down.”

“The only way we feel this situation could be worse would be if anyone was hurt or endangered trying to conduct searches,” the family said.

Authorities in Grenada said they had dispatched senior investigators and a forensic specialist to the nearby island of St. Vincent, where the escaped prisoners were arrested Wednesday.

The prisoners, ages 19, 25 and 30, were charged a couple of months ago with one count of robbery with violence. The eldest inmate also was charged with one count of rape, three counts of attempted rape and two counts of indecent assault and causing harm, police in Grenada said.

The three men escaped from their holding cell Feb. 18, according to police.

Authorities said a preliminary investigation suggested the three men seized the yacht at Grenada's capital, St. George's, and traveled to St. Vincent.

Copyright 2024 The  Associated Press . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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US couple whose yacht was hijacked were likely thrown overboard and died, Grenada police say

Three escaped prisoners hijacked the catamaran “simplicity” on feb. 19 and headed to st. vincent and the grenadines, where they were arrested last wednesday, by dánica coto | associated press • published february 26, 2024 • updated 3 hours ago.

An older U.S. couple whose catamaran was hijacked last week in the Caribbean by three escaped prisoners were likely thrown into the ocean and died, police in Grenada said Monday.

The announcement is a blow to those who were independently helping search for Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel and had hoped they were still alive.

Don McKenzie, police commissioner of the Royal Grenada Police Force, said at a news conference that the three prisoners escaped on Feb. 18 from the South Saint George Police Station. They hijacked the catamaran “Simplicity” on Feb. 19 and headed to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where they were arrested last Wednesday, he said.

“Information suggests that while traveling between Grenada and St Vincent, they disposed of the occupants,” McKenzie said.

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When pressed for details, he said, “We have nothing conclusive to say that the individuals are dead. We still hold out hope that in spite (of) what might be a low probability, that they would turn up alive somewhere.”

He noted that he was “quite limited” with what he could share with the public regarding the case because the investigation is ongoing, and because Grenadian authorities still don’t have much information.

“The information I possess is limited and can be considered second-hand as I have had very limited discussions regarding the details of the investigation with my Vincentian counterpart,” McKenzie said.

St. Vincent police could not be immediately reached for comment.

yacht news 24

Sons of missing Virginia couple whose yacht was hijacked in Caribbean call attack ‘unimaginable'

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Caribbean officials search for 2 people aboard a yacht they say was hijacked by 3 escaped prisoners

The nonprofit Salty Dawg Sailing Association said Hendry and Brandel were “veteran cruisers” and longtime members of the association, calling them “warm-hearted and capable.”

It said the couple had sailed the yacht in last year’s Caribbean Rally from Hampton, Virginia, to Antigua, and were spending the winter cruising in the eastern Caribbean.

A son of Hendry and a son of Brandel did not immediately return messages for comment.

A GoFundMe page created to raise money for the couple's family noted that Brandel had recently become a first-time grandmother, and that the sailing community was “shattered” by what happened.

“Kathy and Ralph, experienced adventurers, spent their retirement sailing aboard Simplicity, spending summers in New England and embracing the warmth of Caribbean winters,” the page stated.

McKenzie, Grenada's police commissioner, said a five-person team was sent to St. Vincent to help with the investigation.

After his brief announcement on Monday, McKenzie and other police officials took questions from local media, including one reporter who asked, “Who is really to be blamed for this massive failure to keep these prisoners under the control of the (Royal Grenada Police Force) which has now resulted in this tragedy?”

McKenzie said police have launched an investigation into the escape and are looking into whether it was “a system failure” or a case of a “slip up.”

“All aspects of that investigation are on the table,” he said, adding that the police holding station where the three men were being held has “sufficient safety to prevent an incident like that (from) occurring.”

When the reporter asked why the three men who were arrested remained in a holding cell instead of prison, Vannie Curwen, assistant police commissioner, said the men first had to see a magistrate who would decide whether to grant bail or order them remanded.

The escaped prisoners, ages 19, 25 and 30, were charged a couple of months ago with one count of robbery with violence. The eldest inmate also was charged with one count of rape, three counts of attempted rape and two counts of indecent assault and causing harm, police in Grenada said.

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American Couple Likely Dead After Yacht Hijacked, Police Say: What We Know And Still Don’t Know

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Police in the Caribbean nations of Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines said that Ralph Hendry and Kathleen Brandel, two American retirees who lived on their yacht named “Simplicity,” were likely killed after being thrown overboard when their vessel was hijacked by three escaped prisoners—but police have only detailed limited evidence about their tragic disappearance.

Ralph Hendry and Kathleen Brandel’s yacht was found empty 80 miles from the island they were last ... [+] seen on.

In separate press conferences on Monday, police in both Grenada and St. Vincent said they believe that Ralph Hendry and Kathleen Brandel were both killed somewhere in the 80 miles of ocean between the two nations.

However, searches by the Coast Guards of both Caribbean nations have found neither of their bodies.

Grenadan Police Commissioner Don McKenzie said the investigation was ongoing and his information was still “quite limited,” but evidence suggests that the three Grenadan escapees “disposed of the occupants” before arriving in St. Vincent.

St. Vincent Police Superintendent Junior Simmons said investigators found evidence of “several criminal acts” onboard the yacht—the couple’s belongings were strewn across the ship’s deck, and a “red substance that resembled blood” was found in the cabin.

The three suspects have been charged with immigration offenses in St. Vincent, but so far have not been charged with Hendry’s or Brandel’s murder.

Key Background

Police in Grenada identified the escaped convicts as Ron Mitchell, 30, Trevon Robinson, 25, and Atiba Stanislaus, 23, who were being held on charges of violent robbery and rape. They escaped custody from the South St. George’s police station on Sunday, February 18. Police in Grenada are still investigating how exactly the three suspects were able to escape the police station, which Commissioner McKenzie said the force would “hold persons accountable” for the incident. The next day, the three escaped prisoners commandeered the Simplicity docked near the picturesque Grand Anse Beach, using the small craft to travel about 80 miles to St. Vincent. Police in St. Vincent believe the three convicts entered the country on Monday, February 19, docking the stolen yacht on the southern coast of its largest island. The trio of fugitives was finally taken into custody by Vincentian police on February 21, and the Simplicity was discovered empty the same day.

The couple’s sons, Bryan Hendry and Nick Buro told NBC Washington that their parents’ disappearance was “completely unexpected.” Hendry and Brandel were both retired and sold their home in Virginia over a decade ago to live full time on their yacht. Buro told the station that they were world travelers and experienced sailors, noting that “Simplicity was their home.” Hendry and Brandel were longtime members of the Salty Dawg Sailing Association, and recently completed a sailing rally with the club from Hampton, Virginia, to Antigua. “In all my years of cruising the Caribbean, I have never heard of anything like this,” the organization’s president Bob Osborn said in a statement on Saturday.

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Couple with Treasure Coast ties believed killed after boat hijacked in Grenada

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FORT PIERCE — A missing couple with Treasure Coast ties are believed to have been killed when their catamaran yacht was hijacked in Grenada, where the couple had sailed.

The Royal Grenada Police Force said in a statement released Friday that they were working on leads “that suggest” that the two occupants of their yacht — named Simplicity — may have been killed, according to the Associated Press.

The Associated Press did not name the couple. But WPTV-Channel 5 identified them as Ralph Hendry, 66, and his wife, Kathy Brandel, 71, who spent their winters docked at a Fort Pierce marina, according to Hendry's sister, Suellen Desmaris of Fort Pierce.

"This was their whole life. They didn't own another home, they didn't own cars, they owned Simplicity," Desmarais told WPTV . "And when you were invited onto Simplicity, you were made to feel as magical as they were and as magical as that boat was."

Desmaris did not return calls to TCPalm on Saturday.

The Virginia couple sailed to the Caribbean in November, according to the WPTV report.

Authorities are investigating what happened to the couple after their yacht was hijacked, apparently by three escaped prisoners. Preliminary reports suggest the prisoners hijacked the yacht in St. George’s, Grenada, and traveled to the nearby island of St. Vincent, according to the AP.

On Feb. 18, three prisoners, ages 19, 25 and 30, escaped from their holding cell in Grenada, the AP said, citing reports from the Royal Grenada Police Force. Each of the prisoners was charged a couple of months ago with one count of robbery with violence. The 30-year-old also had been charged with one count of rape, three counts of attempted rape and two counts of indecent assault, the AP said.

The prisoners were captured Wednesday in St. Vincent, the AP said. The occupants of the yacht were missing, reports said.

While Desmarais told WPTV she hoped the couple would be found alive, a GoFundMe account in their name has been set up to pay for funeral expenses and return of the couple's yacht.

"It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that we share the devastating news of the senseless act of violence that tragically claimed the lives of husband and wife, Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel," said a GoFundMe account set up by Brandel's son, Nick Buro, and friend Jessica Mause. The account said the couple were "seasoned sailors" and "experienced adventurers" who spent their retirement sailing.

As of Saturday, the account had raised $16,216. The money raised will go directly to Buro and Hendry's son, Bryan Hendry.

The couple previously had docked their catamaran at the Safe Harbor Harbortown Marina in Fort Pierce.

"They were the sweetest people," Keith Mallamo said in an email to TCPalm. Mallamo said he was friends with the couple when they docked their vessels at the marina in Fort Pierce.

One Christmas, Brandel baked cookies for everyone on the dock, and Hendry was always available to help his fellow sailors, Mallamo wrote.

Colleen Wixon is the education reporter for TCPalm and Treasure Coast Newspapers. Contact her at [email protected].

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Officials: 2 Americans believed to be dead after their yacht was hijacked by escaped prisoners

Americans Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel are believed to be dead after their yacht was hijacked.

(CNN) – Authorities in Grenada said two Americans are believed to have been killed after they were allegedly hijacked by prison escapees.

A sailing club identified the Americans as Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry, a couple from Virginia.

Both were spending the winter cruising the eastern Caribbean after sailing their yacht from Hampton, Virginia to Antigua.

Police in Grenada said they have three men back in custody after they escaped from prison on Feb. 18 and may have killed the couple.

The families of the two victims thanked everyone who helped gather information and provide search and rescue support, including the Royal Grenada Police Force and Coast Guard.

A GoFundMe campaign has been established by Nick Buro to help fund the recovery of the yacht and belongings, funeral costs and support.

Copyright 2024 CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.

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Caribbean officials search for 2 people who were on yacht allegedly hijacked by 3 escaped prisoners

Investigators from Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines stand aboard the yacht "Simplicity", that they say was hijacked by 3 escaped prisoners with two people aboard, now anchored at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coastguard Service Calliaqua Base, in Calliaqua, St. Vincent, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. Authorities in the eastern Caribbean said they were trying to locate two people believed to be U.S. citizens who were aboard the yacht that was hijacked by the three escaped prisoners from Grenada. (AP Photo/Kenton X. Chance)

Investigators from Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines stand aboard the yacht “Simplicity”, that they say was hijacked by 3 escaped prisoners with two people aboard, now anchored at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coastguard Service Calliaqua Base, in Calliaqua, St. Vincent, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. Authorities in the eastern Caribbean said they were trying to locate two people believed to be U.S. citizens who were aboard the yacht that was hijacked by the three escaped prisoners from Grenada. (AP Photo/Kenton X. Chance)

The yacht “Simplicity”, that officials say was hijacked by three escaped prisoners with two people aboard, is docked at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coastguard Service Calliaqua Base, in Calliaqua, St. Vincent, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. Authorities in the eastern Caribbean said they were trying to locate two people believed to be U.S. citizens who were aboard the yacht that was hijacked by the three escaped prisoners from Grenada. (AP Photo/Kenton X. Chance)

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Authorities in the eastern Caribbean said they were trying to locate two people believed to be U.S. citizens who were aboard a yacht that was hijacked by three escaped prisoners from Grenada.

The Royal Grenada Police Force said in a statement released Friday that they were working on leads “that suggest” the two occupants of the yacht might have been killed.

“This investigation is in its infancy stage,” police said.

The nonprofit Salty Dawg Sailing Association identified the owners as Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel. It said they were “veteran cruisers” and longtime members of the association, calling them “warmhearted and capable.” A relative of Hendry didn’t return a message seeking comment Saturday.

FILE - This undated image released by the U.S. military's Central Command shows what it is described as the vessel that carried Iranian-made missile components bound for Yemen's Houthi in the Arabian Sea. Four foreign nationals were charged Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, with transporting suspected Iranian-made weapons on a vessel intercepted by U.S. naval forces in the Arabian Sea last month. Two Navy SEALs died during the mission. (U.S. Central Command via AP, File)

The association said a cruising skipper had contacted the association about a member’s yacht, Simplicity, that was found “anchored and abandoned” off a beach on the island of St. Vincent.

“The good Samaritan had boarded the boat and noted that the owners … were not onboard and found evidence of apparent violence,” the association said in a statement Thursday.

The association said Hendry and Brandel had sailed the yacht in last year’s Caribbean Rally from Hampton, Virginia, to Antigua, and were spending the winter cruising in the eastern Caribbean.

“This is a very upsetting event and details are still unconfirmed by the authorities, but this does appear to be a tragic event,” said Bob Osborn, the association’s president. “In all my years of cruising the Caribbean, I have never heard of anything like this.”

Family members of those missing met with authorities in St. Vincent on Saturday, where they were seen boarding the yacht that was hijacked. It was being guarded by officials, one of whom was wearing latex gloves.

Hendry’s family issued a statement Saturday thanking police, local coast guards and all those who helped authorities gather information.

“It means so much to us that so many people cared for Ralph and Kathy as friends and fellow cruisers that they are willing to stop and help in whatever way possible,” the family said.

They also asked that all those trying to conduct independent searches to “stand down.”

“The only way we feel this situation could be worse would be if anyone was hurt or endangered trying to conduct searches,” the family said.

Authorities in Grenada said they had dispatched senior investigators and a forensic specialist to the nearby island of St. Vincent, where the escaped prisoners were arrested Wednesday.

The prisoners, ages 19, 25 and 30, were charged a couple of months ago with one count of robbery with violence. The eldest inmate also was charged with one count of rape, three counts of attempted rape and two counts of indecent assault and causing harm, police in Grenada said.

The three men escaped from their holding cell Feb. 18, according to police.

Authorities said a preliminary investigation suggested the three men seized the yacht at Grenada’s capital, St. George’s, and traveled to St. Vincent.

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2 Americans believed dead after escapees apparently hijack yacht, Grenada police say

By Caitlin O'Kane

February 23, 2024 / 12:15 PM EST / CBS News

Three escaped inmates in Grenada may have stolen a yacht and killed two passengers on the boat who are believed to be American citizens, the Royal Grenada Police Force said on Thursday. The three men escaped custody on Sunday and police believe they made their way to nearby St. Vincent on a stolen boat, according to a news release the force shared on Facebook. 

The three men — identified as Ron Mitchell, 30, Trevon Robertson, 19, and Abita Stanislaus, 25 — were initially arrested in December and charged jointly with one count of robbery with violence. Mitchell also faced separate charges of one count of rape, three counts of attempted rape, two counts of indecent assault and causing harm.

They were being held at the South St. George Police Station on the small Caribbean island when they escaped. As law enforcement from Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines searched for them, evidence suggested they got on a yacht docked in St. George, officials said. 

inmates.jpg

The Royal Grenada Police Force "is currently working on leads that suggest that the two occupants of the yacht may have been killed in the process," the force wrote on Facebook. "It is believed that the occupants of the yacht were American citizens."

The investigation is in its early stages and a team of senior investigators and a forensic specialist has been sent to St. Vincent, the force said. 

In a separate incident, police said another suspect escaped while attending court on Wednesday and is on the run. The fugitive, identified as Levon Date, is charged in the 2023 killing of Canadian citizen Wayne Smart. 

CBS News has reached out to the Royal Grenada Police Force for more information. 

img-0710.jpg

Caitlin O'Kane is a New York City journalist who works on the CBS News social media team as a senior manager of content and production. She writes about a variety of topics and produces "The Uplift," CBS News' streaming show that focuses on good news.

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Caribbean officials search for 2 people who were on yacht allegedly hijacked by 3 escaped prisoners

Authorities in the eastern Caribbean say they are trying to locate two people believed to be U.S. citizens who were aboard a yacht hijacked by three escaped prisoners from Grenada

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Authorities in the eastern Caribbean said they were trying to locate two people believed to be U.S. citizens who were aboard a yacht that was hijacked by three escaped prisoners from Grenada.

The Royal Grenada Police Force said in a statement released Friday that they were working on leads “that suggest” the two occupants of the yacht might have been killed.

“This investigation is in its infancy stage,” police said.

The nonprofit Salty Dawg Sailing Association identified the owners as Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel. It said they were “veteran cruisers” and longtime members of the association, calling them “warmhearted and capable.” A relative of Hendry didn't return a message seeking comment Saturday.

The association said a cruising skipper had contacted the association about a member’s yacht, Simplicity, that was found “anchored and abandoned” off a beach on the island of St. Vincent.

“The good Samaritan had boarded the boat and noted that the owners … were not onboard and found evidence of apparent violence,” the association said in a statement Thursday.

The association said Hendry and Brandel had sailed the yacht in last year’s Caribbean Rally from Hampton, Virginia, to Antigua, and were spending the winter cruising in the eastern Caribbean.

“This is a very upsetting event and details are still unconfirmed by the authorities, but this does appear to be a tragic event,” said Bob Osborn, the association’s president. “In all my years of cruising the Caribbean, I have never heard of anything like this.”

Family members of those missing met with authorities in St. Vincent on Saturday, where they were seen boarding the yacht that was hijacked. It was being guarded by officials, one of whom was wearing latex gloves.

Hendry’s family issued a statement Saturday thanking police, local coast guards and all those who helped authorities gather information.

“It means so much to us that so many people cared for Ralph and Kathy as friends and fellow cruisers that they are willing to stop and help in whatever way possible,” the family said.

They also asked that all those trying to conduct independent searches to “stand down.”

“The only way we feel this situation could be worse would be if anyone was hurt or endangered trying to conduct searches,” the family said.

Authorities in Grenada said they had dispatched senior investigators and a forensic specialist to the nearby island of St. Vincent, where the escaped prisoners were arrested Wednesday.

The prisoners, ages 19, 25 and 30, were charged a couple of months ago with one count of robbery with violence. The eldest inmate also was charged with one count of rape, three counts of attempted rape and two counts of indecent assault and causing harm, police in Grenada said.

The three men escaped from their holding cell Feb. 18, according to police.

Authorities said a preliminary investigation suggested the three men seized the yacht at Grenada's capital, St. George's, and traveled to St. Vincent.

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A Virginia couple is feared dead after three escaped prisoners stole their docked yacht from a Caribbean marina and fled to another island.

Ralph Hendry and his wife Kathy Brandel, who live on their yacht, Simplicity, were last seen by a boating neighbor on Sunday afternoon in St. George’s on the island nation of Grenada, as they headed to a restaurant.

The pair live on their boat during the winter and arrived on the island two weeks prior, intending to stay another week before they went missing.

“They went into town [on Sunday] to have a little bite and to walk back,” Hendry’s sister Suellen Desmarais  told WPTV-Tampa . “Somehow Ralph crossed paths in this teeny tiny town with these three men. What happened after that, we’re not sure.”

‘This was their whole life,” she added. “They didn’t own another home; they didn’t own cars; they owned Simplicity.”

Ralph Hendry and his wife Kathy Brandel were last seen by a boating neighbor in the St. George area on Sunday afternoon as they headed to a restaurant on the island nation of Grenada.

‘Ralph and Kathy are the kindest people in the entire world, and I just can’t understand how a tragedy like this could happen to people as kind and nice as them.”

Hendry and Brandel have sailed the same route for the past few years, from Virginia to Massachusetts before heading down to Florida to visit Desmarais, and eventually to the Caribbean where they would island hop,  according to ABC News.

They went missing the same day that three fugitives, Ron Mitchell, 30, Trevon Robertson, 19, and Abita Stanislaus, 25, escaped the South St. George Police Station. The escapees then made their way to the marina, where they fled to another Caribbean island, authorities said.

They were subsequently captured on Wednesday in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Simplicity was recovered by authorities after a good Samaritan found it anchored off of a St. Vincent beach, where they boarded it and discovered the boat had been ransacked and "found evidence of apparent violence."

“The RGPF is currently working on leads that suggest that the two occupants of the yacht may have been killed in the process,” the Royal Grenada Police Force said in a press release.

“It is believed that the occupants of the yacht were American citizens.”

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The suspects each face one count of robbery with violence. Mitchell, a sailor, was separately charged with one count of rape, three counts of attempted rape, two counts of indecent assault and causing harm.

The Simplicity was recovered by authorities after a Good Samaritan found it anchored off of a St. Vincent beach. When they boarded, they discovered the boat had been ransacked and “found evidence of apparent violence.”

Authorities spotted bloodstains in the interior but no sign of the couple,  according to People magazine .

Desmarais, however, is holding out hope the couple is still alive.

“It feels made up, and I just can’t comprehend why someone would do this?” she said. “Why didn’t someone just take the boat?

‘What happened in Grenada was a perfect storm. It was a perfect tragedy of a perfect storm of a perfect love story.”

She also  told Fox 5 DC,  “Why would I presume anyone is dead with no body and DNA? I want to remain positive. I want to believe that they are alive,”

Hendry and Brandel’s two children and Hendry’s nephew traveled to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to join the search for the couple on Friday, according to reports.

“This investigation is in its infancy stage and the RGPF have dispatched a team of senior investigators and a forensic specialist to St. Vincent in furtherance of this investigation,” the RGPF said.

Ron Mitchell, a sailor, was separately charged with one count of Rape, three counts of Attempted Rape, two counts of Indecent Assault, and Causing Harm.

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Ralph Hendry and his wife Kathy Brandel

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SUPERYACHTS NEWS

Superyachts News belongs to The International yachting Media , the most read boating magazines network in the world.

The editorial group was born in 2014, from the entrepreneurial creativity of Luca D’Ambrosio who, awarded for digital innovation in 2011 by the President of the Italian Republic, has developed a digital native system for the international broadcasting of nautical news.

All the publisher’ titles are based on quality of informations, an enhanced multimedia approach and a great user experience.

superyachts news

The magazine opens with a gallery of news – Superyachts headline news – illustrated with full screen images of great impact.

Scrolling down the reader enters the heart of the magazine with market news –  Superyachts  –

A large space is dedicated to follow the theme of Concepts , a subject much loved by design enthusiasts. It then continues with lifestyle , launch , and destinations .

Luxury yachts: history and definitions

Superyachts began to appear at the beginning of 1900 when the first wealthy shipowners ordered their construction with the intention of using them exclusively for leisure purposes.

Among the first motor superyachts we find many conversions of merchant or military boats. A perfect example is the famous Christina O which, 99 meters long and originally launched in 1943 under the name HMCS Stormont (an anti-submarine frigate), was purchased in 1947 by Aristotle Onassis and then converted to private use at a crazy expense for that time: four million dollars.

Superyachts news - Christina O

Today with the term superyachts are generically indicated all those pleasure boats longer than 24 meters, (about 80 ft), although, in reality, there are more precise definitions and subdivisions.

The first large subdivision obviously concerns their length. Are in fact specifically defined superyachts , leisure yachts between 24 and 50 meters while, with the term megayachts , we normally indicate those over 50 meters and up to 100 meters.

The few and fantastic pleasure yachts that exceed 100 meters are defined today gigayachts , like the Azzam that, launched in April 2013, measures the beauty of 180 meters (590 feet) and, perhaps for a short time, is the longest superyacht in the world.

Superyachs news - Azzam

The market of these magnificent giants of the sea is very active. From a 2016 statistic we learn in fact that in the world there would be 10,000 active superyachts, 80% of which are motor yachts.

Every year about 150 Superyachts are sold, produced and launched all over the world. The first producing country is Italy, which also enjoys the supremacy of the shipyard that claims the title of first producer in the world: it is the Azimut Benetti group that has been in first position for 21 years.

Megayachts News

These boats are real floating royal palaces, offering a wealth of facilities and equipment on board that make both relaxation and entertainment sublime. Most of these yachts offer suites and lounge areas, a gym, a disco, a cinema, a swimming pool, a spa, an area reserved for tenders, water toys, submarines and, on the largest yachts, one or more helidecks for private helicopters.

Superyachts news Columbus

One of the main peculiarities of superyachts is the presence on board of a highly professional crew , able to provide a five-stars assistance during the entire cruise period. The crew is generally made up of the following categories of personnel: the captain, who is in charge of the boat; the chef, who is in charge of the kitchen and food management and the staff who, like in a luxury hotel, is dedicated to serving the guests. Onboard we normally find also a technical crew, dedicated to the operation and maintenance of the boat, usually a motorist and an electronics expert who, together, ensure the operation of the boat and all the systems on board.

It is therefore a very various and luxurious market, that is constantly evolving. Our online magazine was born from this observation, a publication entirely dedicated to these fantastic masterpieces of naval art.

Superyachts News Magazine

Superyachts News

The Superyachts News magazine has been created in two languages and brings the spectacular images of these boats to the web. The site has been designed to offer a rich, pleasant and functional experience, facilitated by the use of graphics created for mobile devices and only later adapted to desktop use.

From the beginning, the publisher set out to develop an innovative and unique model, developed to broadcast free news worldwide.  A multi-channel, web and social system designed for the yachting and luxury market, i.e. for a sector that certainly wants to communicate globally, reaching an audience of users with high spending power.

The International Yachting Media group publishes 6 magazines and is top ranked globally. With over 900,000 views per week in more than 200 countries, it is probably the most read yachting media in the world.

The audience includes shipowners (around 80%) as well as a significant proportion of captains and crew members who are among the top influencers in the industry. The main audience segment (86%) are men aged between 35 and over 50.

Geographically the publications are very strong in Europe and the Americas with a coverage of respectively 53% and 40%. Over 50% of our digital magazines are accessed through organic search .

Superyachts News TIYM

The International Yachting Media was born in 2014, from the entrepreneurial creativity of Luca D’Ambrosio who, awarded for digital innovation in 2011 by the President of the Italian Republic, has developed a digital native and unique system for the international broadcasting of nautical news.

“Our media approach is a unique reality in the publishing panorama.” says Luca D’Ambrosio, founder of the publishing group “The innovative and fully digital strategy, together with the internationalisation, are the key to our success around the world”.

The group currently broadcast 6 magazines in 4 languages reaching more than 200 countries every day, totalling approximately 900.000 views per week.

THEINTERNATIONALYACHTINGMEDIA.COM

SUPERYACHTS.NEWS

YACHTINGNEWS.COM

YACHTDIGEST.COM

TUTTOBARCHE.IT

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TODOSLOSBARCOS.ES

All the publisher’s magazines are based on quality of information, an enhanced multimedia approach and hyper-connected user experience. The International Yachting Media offers a unique interactive experience, where every reader is lead through an extraordinary journey made of hypertextual features, animated photos, sound effects and breath-taking videos.

Our magazines offer the best of the multimedia world in a container that does not need paper to be leafed through but that manages to summarise and enhance the purest and most important values digitally.

The system is independent from the original language of the article; our staff translates, composes and publishes content worldwide and within 24 hours. In parallel with the articles published, our team distributes content on our English, Spanish, French and Italian social network pages.

The International Yachting Media offers a huge variety of web portals that are not limited to the publication of magazines and their news, but extends to unique websites, or simply web sections, made to fulfill almost every boat owners’ needs: from the ports and anchorages online pilot book – the most complete and most up-to-date pilot book of the Mediterranean – to the possibility of buying and selling a sailing yacht or a powerboat.

Last, but not least, in order to allow boat owners to virtually discover all the best world premieres, we launched in April 2019 a very special virtual boat show. The Virtual Boat Show is a real aggregator of multimedia content that collects all the information, many of which in absolute preview, with regards to models produced by shipyards, in an elegant and extraordinarily interactive platform, where you can find sea trials, virtual tours, videos, relevant links and also a direct contact channel with shipyards.

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IMAGES

  1. TITANIA-Pool_Deck_Main-24

    yacht news 24

  2. Eye-catching 24m Drettmann Explorer Yacht to draw attention at boot

    yacht news 24

  3. The 24m luxury motor yacht Wally//Ace

    yacht news 24

  4. NAVIS Luxury Yacht Magazine #24

    yacht news 24

  5. News: Pachoud Yachts Launch 24M "Samara"

    yacht news 24

  6. 24m Drettmann Explorer Yacht to be revealed in 2016

    yacht news 24

VIDEO

  1. CrewPass Crew Spotlight #yachting #yachtcrew #yachtinginternationalradio #maritime #superyacht

  2. Government wants to sell Russian yacht while forfeiture case continues

  3. The yacht seized 19 months ago has been docked in National City and costs taxpayers $1M per month

  4. Luxury yacht owned by billionaire destroyed by fire in Sydney

COMMENTS

  1. Missing American couple: Search for continues after alleged yacht ...

    News of Brandel and Hendry's disappearance has opened a floodgate of support from loved ones, church friends and boating community members who stepped forward willing to help, their families said.

  2. US couple whose yacht was hijacked were likely thrown overboard

    An American couple who was feared dead after their catamaran yacht was hijacked by three escaped prisoners were likely thrown overboard in the Caribbean Sea, authorities said Monday. Ralph Hendry ...

  3. Americans whose yacht was hijacked in Grenada were likely thrown

    Two Americans "are presumed deceased" after they vanished from their yacht in Grenada, leaving behind evidence of a bloody struggle, police in nearby St.

  4. Officials search for couple feared dead in the Caribbean

    The yacht "Simplicity", that officials say was hijacked by three escaped prisoners with two people aboard, is docked at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coastguard Service Calliaqua Base, in ...

  5. Caribbean officials search for missing couple after yacht hijacking

    The yacht's alleged owners, Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry, were last seen Sunday night, when three men escaped from the custody of Grenadian authorities. Police in St. Vincent and the Grenadines ...

  6. 2 Americans believed dead after 3 Grenadian escapees ...

    Three violent crime suspects might have killed two people aboard a yacht, possibly Americans, during an escape from Grenada to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, police said Thursday. The suspects ...

  7. News

    Yacht news › Latest yacht news RJ 102 Sold by Cantiere delle Marche Cantiere delle Marche is celebrating yet another significant milestone with the sale of an RJ 102... February 21, 2024 121 Sacs Tecnorib to Showcase Pirelli 42 Special Edition at Dubai International Boat Show

  8. Caribbean Officials Search for 2 People Who Were on Yacht Allegedly

    Investigators from Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines stand aboard the yacht "Simplicity", that they say was hijacked by 3 escaped prisoners with two people aboard, now anchored at the St ...

  9. US couple likely thrown overboard, died after yacht hijacking: Police

    US couple whose yacht was hijacked were likely thrown overboard and died, Grenada police say ... Associated Press • Published 24 seconds ... said at a news conference that the three prisoners ...

  10. American Couple Likely Dead After Yacht Hijacking In Grenada ...

    Key Background. Police in Grenada identified the escaped convicts as Ron Mitchell, 30, Trevon Robinson, 25, and Atiba Stanislaus, 23, who were being held on charges of violent robbery and rape.

  11. Latest Superyacht News

    Project Capri. 65m Feadship superyacht Project Capri delivered and named Promise.D. News. Rossinavi introduces new yacht brand called No Limits. Infinity. Baglietto launches second 52m T52 superyacht. Construction update. Keel laid on Columbus Yachts' first 37m Atlantique. Launch.

  12. Grenada police: Missing US couple likely thrown overboard, died

    Relatives stand nearby as investigators from Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines stand aboard the yacht "Simplicity," which they say was hijacked by three escaped prisoners with two people on board, now anchored at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coast Guard Calliaqua Base, in Calliaqua, St. Vincent, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024.

  13. Superyacht news, reports and design

    Get unrivalled access to the world's newest and most iconic luxury yachts with our exclusive superyacht reports and stay up-to-date with the latest yacht news, design trends and advice for yacht owners Latest yacht reports The Bitter End "All I could do was fess up - and ask for help to remove the stains" Fancy footwork

  14. SuperYacht Times

    Latest Update Fri 23 Feb 2024 | 05:00 Advertisement New Designs Sagasu: A closer look at the 48m Hydro Tec superyacht concept Italy-based design house Hydro Tec has unveiled further details and images about the 48-metre superyacht concept Sagasu.

  15. Yacht racing, sailing news, events and blogs

    Swan 65 test: The triumphant return of a true sailing icon. Read more. Yacht racing, sailing news, events and blogs from Yachting World, covering the world's biggest yacht races.

  16. Couple believed killed when boat is hijacked in Grenada

    FORT PIERCE — A missing couple with Treasure Coast ties are believed to have been killed when their catamaran yacht was hijacked in Grenada, where the couple had sailed. The Royal Grenada Police ...

  17. Yachting News Home Page

    Yachting News Home Page | daily news about boating Yachting News - English Edition BOAT SHOWS Cannes Yachting Festival News February 23, 2024 9:37 am Cannes Yachting Festival 2024: Port Canto will host a new marina for boats up to 12 meters With only eight months left until the opening of the Cannes Yachting Festival 2024, this Silvia Pretto editor

  18. SuperYacht Times

    News, yachts for sale and yachts for charter, destinations and yachting intelligence. Build Updates. 35m in-build AES superyacht NB066 leaves shed. The 34.61-metre superyacht of the AES project, NB066, has successfully left the shed. Scheduled for delivery by her Turkey-based shipyard in May 2024, NB066 is currently on the market with David ...

  19. Virginia couple missing in Grenada and feared killed after yacht

    Instead, things may have taken a very tragic turn. The yacht was found on Feb. 18, abandoned on a beach on the nearby island of St. Vincent. That same day, police in Grenada said they had arrested ...

  20. Officials: 2 Americans believed to be dead after their yacht was

    Both were spending the winter cruising the eastern Caribbean after sailing their yacht from Hampton, Virginia to Antigua. ... Stream news and weather 24/7. Latest News.

  21. Search underway for US citizens on yacht hijacked by prisoners in

    Investigators from Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines stand aboard the yacht "Simplicity", that they say was hijacked by 3 escaped prisoners with two people aboard, now anchored at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coastguard Service Calliaqua Base, in Calliaqua, St. Vincent, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024.

  22. Yacht Boat News

    40 Congressional Cup Overall Invincible! Chris Poole (USA) and Riptide Racing have swept the Long Beach Yacht Club Congressional Cup, sailing undefeated in five… Read More » Boat News Races & Regatta YachtBoatNews 12 hours ago 77 Ficker Cup 2024

  23. Sons of couple whose yacht was stolen hold out hope they are alive

    The boat itself was ransacked and everything was strewn about in the entire cabin," one of the sons, said, acknowledging the possibility that Ralph Hendry, 66, and his wife, Kathy Brandel, 71…

  24. 2 Americans believed dead after escapees apparently hijack yacht

    Three escaped inmates in Grenada may have stolen a yacht and killed two passengers on the boat who are believed to be American citizens, the Royal Grenada Police Force said on Thursday. The three ...

  25. Caribbean officials search for 2 people who were on yacht ...

    The yacht "Simplicity", that officials say was hijacked by three escaped prisoners with two people aboard, is docked at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coastguard Service Calliaqua Base, in ...

  26. US couple Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel feared dead after yacht stolen

    A Virginia couple is feared dead after three escaped prisoners stole their docked yacht from a Caribbean marina and fled to another island. Ralph Hendry and his wife Kathy Brandel, who live on ...

  27. 2024 Miami Yacht Show: 13 Superyachts to See

    2024 Miami Yacht Show: 13 Superyachts to See. February 7, 2024By: Ken Kremsler. February 14 to 18 marks the annual Miami International Boat Show. Although not as large as other shows, it continues to attract large-yacht buyers. Primarily, brokerage buys are in the water at a variety of displays, although a handful of new builds are there, too.

  28. Superyachts News magazine: articles and yachting

    Superyacht Cup Palma is looking forward to summer 2024 with great enthusiasm. In fact, the 28th edition read more news Superyachts Concepts / News / Superyachts NOLIMITS: Rossinavi has launched its new brand A new brand, five yachts from 30 to 45 meters, and many outstanding features that enable long-distance Concepts / News / Superyachts