It’s alway helpful to hear the story directly from those involved.
David Teegarden was part of the professional crew onboard the SV Concordia and served as her medical officer. In this video interview he tell his story of resetting his dislocated shoulder so that he could climb out of his cabin and escape the sinking vessel. Interestingly, he used the light from the screen of his laptop to navigate his way through the dark, overturned vessel.
Captain William Curry of the high school tall ship Concordia that sank on Wednesday reports that his ship was a victim of a weather phenomenon called a microburst. However, Concordia is not the first victim of this type of extreme weather.
On May 2, 1961, the brigantineAlbatross also encountered a microburst 125 nautical miles of the Dry Tortugas and sank almost instantly taking 7 souls including 5 high school students. In 1996 Jeff Bridges starred in the Ridley Scott movie White Squall which is a fictionalized account of the Albatross story.
Here’s a video of Warning Coordination Meteorologist, Dan Gudgel, National Weather Service, Hanford, CA describing a microburst and it’s cause and effect. Make sure you stick with the video to the very end in order to see the incredible power and speed of these types of weather events.
Last year the Dallas Cowboys training facility was the victim of a microburst and this weather report video does also does a great job in explaining how microbursts occur.
Here’s raw video of the incident as it unfolds.
It’s not hard to imagine how a sudden powerful weather event like this could have caused a stout sailing ship like Concordia to capsize. It’s really a miracle that this didn’t happen in the middle of the night when students would not have been in above deck classes with easier and quicker access to escape the sinking ship.
Last month, the Irish tall ship Asgard II sank when she suddenly began taking on water that overwhelmed her pumps. (See A Significant Loss for Sail Training, the sinking of the Irish Asgard II) All crew and trainees were safely rescued by the French Coast Guard in the middle of the night. Due to the nature and speed of the casualty there has been conjecture that the Asgard II may have struck some significant marine debris.
Anyone who takes to sea professionally or sails offshore knows the hazards of encountering marine debris, which at the extreme end can include shipping containers and vessel hatch covers washed overboard. New Zealand’s Vero Marine Insurance website has an interesting article on the dangers of lost cargo containers. Cargo containers overboard – Do they sink or swim?
The Asgard II website reports that the vessel sits relatively intact and upright on the sandy bottom off the coast of France. An ROV expedition identified a significant fracture of one of her hull planks. Her insured value is 3.8m euros is less than the preliminary estimates to salvage her. Certainly this will be no easy undertaking. (‘Asgard II’ more likely to be raised as exploration reveals it is largely intactIrish Times, Oct. 3, 2008)
It will be interesting to follow the Asgard II story.