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Dennis Washington’s Yacht Collision Off San Diego Shore Is Latest Billionaire Boat Accident

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Dennis Washington’s 332-foot yacht, Attessa IV, which recently collided with a fishing boat.NEIL RABINOWITZ

Billionaires love their yachts. But just as with planes, trains and automobiles, yachts also unfortunately end up at the center of accidents every so often. In the latest such instance, billionaire Dennis Washington’s 332-foot Attessa IV collided with a 65-foot commercial fishing boat operated by Prowler Fishing Company, nine miles off the shore of San Diego, causing several injuries and one fatality, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The victim, 66-year-old San Clemente, Calif. resident Richard Neff, was pronounced dead as a result of head trauma “despite aggressive resuscitative efforts,” according to the San Diego Examiner’s Office.

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“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people involved in the accident and their families,” said executive vice president at Washington Companies, Tim McHugh. “We can’t comment beyond [saying] that there is an investigation.” The investigation into the incident is ongoing and could take up to six months.

Montana’s richest person, Washington was not on the Attessa IV at the time, nor was his family, but his passion for boats is well established. He has fixed up nine, including the boat featured in the movie “Overboard,” as well as the one involved in the accident, which he purchased for an estimated $250,000 in 2007 and spent 40 months fixing.

Washington is certainly not the first billionaire to be associated with a boat accident — last year alone, the Coast Guard counted 4,291 total recreational boating accidents in the U.S. that caused 658 deaths, 2,629 injuries and about $46 million of damage to property. Large yachts can employ hundreds of people, and some accidents result in employee fatalities. According to yacht directory SuperYachts.com, more than 500 super yachts are currently being built in shipyards around the world.

Alberto Bailleres’ Mayan Queen IV

Earlier this year, a 20-year-old Australian Instagram model, Sinead McNamara, died, reportedly by hanging from a noose on Mexican billionaire Alberto Bailleres’ yacht, where she had been working as a hostess on the boat near the Greek Islands. Bailleres, 87, apparently left the boat, the Mayan Queen IV (which he had reportedly purchased for about $150 million), three days before McNamara’s death. Two weeks before her death the model had posted an Instagram photo of herself on a quad bike with a cryptic caption that read: “My head is all over the shop today. Take me back to this where my only worry was not cracking my skull open.” Bailleres, whose net worth Forbes estimates at $8.6 billion, made his fortune in mining, a family business started by his late father, Raul Bailleres. Bailleres’ firm Industrias Peñoles did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Alexander Mamut’s Kibo 

In the summer of 2015, a 22-year-old assistant engineer working on Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut’s yacht died after reportedly falling from the vessel, the Kibo, and sustaining severe head injuries, while the yacht was docked off the Majorcan coastal resort of Puerto Portals. The engineer died about two years later, reportedly from pneumonia from immobility, caused by the accident. Mamut, 58, who Forbes estimates has a net worth of $2.3 billion, was trained as a lawyer but made his fortune as an investor. Hiis core asset today is a nearly 11% stake in Polymetal, a precious metals and mining group in Russia. Mamut was reportedly not on the yacht at the time of the accident. Polymetal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lawrence Stroll’s Faith

In the spring of 2013, a 22-year-old deckhand and watersports instructor died after falling from the 61-meter superyacht Faith, owned by Canadian fashion billionaire Lawrence Stroll, while it was docked in Antibes on the French Riviera. The victim reportedly suffered a head injury and drowned. Stroll, who Forbes estimates has a net worth of $2.7 billion, made his fortune as a fashion investor and as the mastermind behind the successful 2011 Michael Kors initial public offering. “It was a tragic accident, and we are very sorry for the family,” said Jonathan Dudman, a spokesperson for Stroll. “I’m not sure there was much we could do. We have the highest regard for safety matters.”

Paul Allen’s Tatoosh 

The late Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen’s yacht Tatoosh was involved in a non-fatal accident. In early 2016 the Tatoosh anchor damaged 14,000 square feet of coral reefs in the Cayman Islands. Reefs help protect coastlines from big waves and during tropical storms. Allen, who died in October at age 65 from lymphoma, was reportedly not in the Cayman Islands at the time of the accident. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. issued a statement to GeekWire after the accident stating that the Tatoosh had been moored in a position “explicitly directed by the local Port Authority” and moved the boat when its crew was alerted by a diver that its anchor chain may have impacted coral in the area.

Russ Weiner’s Rockstar 

In 2014 a private bridge in South Florida fell on the 161-foot yacht Rockstar, built by Trinity Yachts, that belongs to Rockstar energy drink founder Russ Weiner, damaging parts of the vessel. The town of Bay Harbor islands in Miami-Dade County reportedly had been considering repairs for years. Weiner was not on board during the incident, which did not result in any injuries. Forty-eight year-old Weiner, whose net worth Forbes estimates at $4.5 billion, founded Rockstar in 2001 and is the son of the right-wing talk-radio star Michael Savage. Weiner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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