Bodies of two more Alabama boaters recovered; probe underway

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 30, 2015 5:14 PM

(Reuters) - Authorities on Thursday recovered the bodies of two more boaters who went missing after storms capsized sailboats during a weekend regatta off the Alabama coast, the U.S. Coast Guard said, with a probe into the disaster's circumstances underway.

The discovery leaves one participant from the boat racing event still unaccounted for, with searchers scouring the waters and shoreline in the Mobile Bay area as part of an operation authorities have said will transition from rescue to recovery mode at sunset on Thursday.

In all, six people went missing when severe weather struck the Dauphin Island regatta and other boats on Saturday afternoon. The bodies of three boaters killed in the storm, which brought winds of more than 70 miles per hour, had previously been found.

The boater still missing was registered with the regatta, which included about 200 people and 100 vessels, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard identified the two bodies recovered on Thursday as those of Adam Clark, 17, of Mobile, Alabama, and Robert Thomas, a 50-year-old resident of Pickens, Mississippi.

Also on Thursday, the Coast Guard and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency announced an investigation into the circumstances of the disaster, asking regatta participants to fill out a questionnaire asking whether they received warning "from any source" before weather conditions deteriorated.

Skies were clear when the regatta got underway on Saturday before severe thunderstorms rolled in from the west.

(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in New Orleans; Editing by Eric Beech)