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America's Cup: Sailor killed in capsized boat an Olympic medalist

Michael JacksonU.S. Coast GuardBeijing Games

A Swedish racing team identified a British Olympic gold medalist as the sailor killed when a catamaran capsized during training for the America's Cup on Thursday on the San Francisco Bay.

Artemis Racing confirmed that Andrew "Bart" Simpson was trapped underneath the AC72 vessel and could not be revived after he was pulled from the water.

“The entire Artemis Racing team is devastated by what happened,” Chief Executive Paul Cayard said in a statement. “Our heartfelt condolences are with Andrew’s wife and family.”

Simpson joined the team in late February and was listed on its website as a strategist. He won a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics and gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

In March, he tweeted about the upcoming race.

"Moving the family to San Fran for 6 months is pretty hectic!!!" he wrote. "The cup should be fun though!!"

The U.S. Coast Guard received a report of a capsized vessel on the northwest side of Treasure Island about 1 p.m., Petty Officer Pamela Boehland said. The Coast Guard deployed several small boats and a helicopter to assist with the rescue of the vessel, but an America’s Cup support boat was able to recover all those aboard.

An America's Cup chase boat pulled about a dozen crew members out of the water and raced to shore. They attempted CPR, but the sailor was pronounced dead when they reached shore at the nearby St. Francis Yacht Club.

The San Francisco Fire Department said the crew member was trapped under the boat for between 10 and 15 minutes, spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.

At least one other sailor suffered cuts, but declined to be taken to a hospital.

It was not immediately clear what caused the boat to capsize, but winds in the area were gusting up to 20 knots.

The international sailing race is scheduled this summer in San Francisco. The Swedish team is a challenger for the 2013 America's Cup.

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andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

kate.mather@latimes.com

maria.laganga@latimes.com

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