A body found floating in the ocean near the Coronado Islands last weekend was positively identified Tuesday as that of the skipper of a yacht involved in an accident that claimed his life and three others 10 days ago.
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A fisherman spotted the body of 49-year-old Theo Mavromatis about 2:30 p.m. Sunday, according to the county Medical Examiner's Office, which listed the cause his death as blunt-force injuries.
The Redondo Beach resident and three other men were taking part in an annual Newport-to-Ensenada race when the 37-foot boat they were aboard dropped off the event's vessel-tracking system just south of the U.S.-Mexico border about 1:30 a.m. on April 28, according to the Newport Ocean Sailing Association, which stages the competition.
A floating debris field found when the sun rose suggested that Mavromatis' Hunter 376, christened the Aegean, may have disintegrated in a collision with a considerably larger vessel, such as a military ship or cargo steamer. Some of the first rescuers on scene were able to identify the wreckage from the destroyed boat's drifting transom, which bore its name.
Later that day, searchers found the bodies of William R. Johnson Jr., 57, of Torrance; Kevin Rudolph, 53, of Manhattan Beach; and Joseph L. Stewart, 64, of Bradenton, Fla. The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its effort to find Mavromatis the next day.
Autopsies determined that Johnson and Rudolph died of blunt-force trauma and that Stewart drowned.
The cause of the wreck remains under investigation, USCG spokesman Henry Dunphy said Tuesday morning. The agency's accident probes generally take four to six weeks to complete, according to Dunphy.
The fatalities were the first in the 65-year history of the yearly California-to-Mexico yacht race, according to organizers.
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