Nova Scotia

Yacht docked in Dartmouth after German owners die in sailing accident

Volker Frank and Annemarie Auer-Frank were killed in an accident at sea last month while sailing aboard their yacht, Escape.

Volker Frank and Annemarie Auer-Frank were sailing bloggers who lived on their yacht

The couple's sailing yacht, Escape, docked in Dartmouth Cove. The U.S. Coast Guard spray-painted USCG on the yacht before leaving it adrift to alert other vessels that passengers had already been rescued. (Mark Crosby/ CBC)

A sailing yacht has been towed to Dartmouth Cove in Nova Scotia after its German owners were killed last month in an accident at sea.

Volker Frank and Annemarie Auer-Frank lived on their CNB 66 yacht, Escape, and blogged about their sailing experiences.

Last month, the couple picked up two American passengers somewhere in the Caribbean. Around June 9, they left Bermuda and headed for Nova Scotia.

On the morning of June 12, they ran into a bad storm off the coast of Massachusetts, said Lt.-Cmdr. Mason Wilcox of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Annemarie Auer-Frank and Volker Frank posted this photo of themselves on their Instagram page. (Instagram)

"There was some sort of rigging failure that had caused an injury to the lady on board, and when the gentleman went by to go help her, he sustained injuries as well," said Wilcox.

"Because of those injuries, the two passengers … hit the emergency beacon on board to say, 'We need help.'"

The coast guard answered the call, and the German couple were taken to Massachusetts where they were pronounced dead.

The coast guard returned later that day to rescue the two American passengers who remained on board Escape, which was left adrift.

The yacht was found by a crew from Pubnico, N.S., in the middle of the night. (Submitted by Garth d'Entremont)

"We did not tow the sailboat back because we wanted to get them back to shore as quickly as possible. And unfortunately, towing a sailboat that far could probably cause more damage if we went fast," said Wilcox.

Philip Wash, an experienced sailor from Halifax, was hired by Leeway Marine in Dartmouth to retrieve the yacht.

He and a crew left from Pubnico a couple of weeks ago on a lobster fishing vessel. They spent days searching the Atlantic Ocean for Escape and finally found it in the middle of the night.

"We put all kinds of lights on it, and there it was, just sitting there, flopping back and forth," Wash said.

Philip Wash from Halifax was hired to retrieve the couple's yacht from the Atlantic Ocean. (Mark Crosby/ CBC)

Before disturbing anything on board, Wash and his crew took pictures of the scene for the German insurance company and investigators. 

It's unclear how long the yacht will remain at Dartmouth Cove.

The German investigation into the accident, with the help of the U.S. Coast Guard, is ongoing. 

GPS tracking from the couple's blog shows the approximate path of their yacht. (CBC News)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Victoria Welland is a reporter with CBC Nova Scotia. You can reach her at victoria.welland@cbc.ca

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