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10 May 2013, 12:29
Olympic gold-medal winning sailor Andrew Simpson, who went to school in Berkshire, has died after his catamaran capsized during a training session for the America's Cup off the coast of California.
Simpson, 36, was sailing with the Swedish Artemis Racing team in San Francisco Bay when the yacht turned over and he became trapped underneath, his team said on Thursday night.
The sailor, affectionately known as "Bart'', was one of 11 crew members aboard the 72ft vessel when it capsized at about 12.30pm local time.
He was trapped underwater by the AC72 catamaran's platform for about 10 minutes, Artemis said, and doctors both in the water and on the shore could not revive him after he was freed from the wreckage.
Paul Cayard, Artemis' chief executive, said the entire Artemis Racing team was "devastated'' by what had happened.
He said: "We obviously had a tragic day today on the bay and our thoughts and prayers are with Bart Simpson's - Andrew Simpson's - family, his wife and kids, and also with the rest of the team-mates.
"It is a shocking experience to go through and we have a lot to deal with in the next few days in terms of assuring everybody's well-being.
"The boat itself is under control, but it is certainly not the first of our concerns. We are focused on the people. That is what we are working with and on and we will give you more information when we are able to.''
The cause of the accident is so far unclear.
The Olympian lived in a terraced house close to the centre of historic Sherborne, with his wife, Leah, and their two young children.
Pangbourne College have paid tribute to the sailor - who was a pupil there between 1990-1995.
They have told Heart he was a popular and highly respected member of the College community; "He was a brilliant and intensely competitive, but fair minded sailor who was clearly destined for great things.”
"Our thoughts and prayers at this shocking time are very much with his wife, Leah, his family and his many friends."
Meanwhile some of our medal winning rowers have taken to Twitter to pay tribute. Pete Reed from Henley says he was 'a good man - always warm and friendly.' Reading's Helen Glover says 'such an incredible guy. Thoughts are with the whole of the BritishSailing family.'