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The biggest superyacht disasters of 2017

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Hurricane Irma

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2017 has seen many catastrophic yacht disasters, most of which have thankfully been isolated incidents, but the biggest was undoubtedly Hurricane Irma. The most powerful storm to hit the Caribbean in decades, Irma sank multiple yachts but this was just the tip of the iceberg — communities were devastated across the region and more than 100 fatalities were reported. In the months since, the superyacht community has come together to support Caribbean welfare and rebuilding efforts but it will be many months before the damage is fully repaired.

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/17

Helicopter crashes while attempting to land on Bacarella

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A dramatic helicopter crash off the coast of Norway on May 10 sparked a local investigation. Local reports claim that the helicopter was attempting to land on board the 59.74 metre Trinity yacht Bacarella at 9:30pm local time when it crash-landed off the coast of Bergen.

An eyewitness told local newspaper VG: "Suddenly, I heard a bang, then a violent splash in the sea right behind the yacht. It seemed as though the helicopter disappeared right into the sea. There was nothing to see in the water.”

A nearby rescue boat was quick to recover all three people on board the stricken helicopter, one of whom was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Photo: Twitter / Nida J Khan

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Elsa runs aground in the Caribbean

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Photo: Dockwalk / Guenter

The 48.53 metre Sijperda yacht Elsa ran aground on the Caribbean island of Saba on March 22, with local reports suggesting that she is at risk of sinking. As the video below shows, she became stuck on the rocks near the coast of Ladder Bay, where large waves washed against her starboard side.

Local publication Saba News reports that salvage efforts began on March 28 with the aim of safely removing all of the fuel from the yacht, which can carry up to 41,000 litres of diesel. It is unclear how Elsa came to run aground in this way, but it is understood that no-one was injured as a result of the incident.

Watch as large waves wash against stranded yacht Elsa

Launched in 2004 as Grace and refitted in 2007, this steel hulled displacement yacht was sold as recently as August 2015. Designed inside and out by World Superyacht Awards judge Henk Koster, she can accommodate up to ten guests and seven crewmembers.

The grounding of Elsa is the second such incident to occur in Ladder Bay within the space of a few weeks. A small sailing yacht ran aground on March 13, but in this case, salvage efforts were successful and the yacht was refloated on March 18.

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