William Johnson, Jr., who died while participating in the in April, did not have alcohol or drugs in his body at the time of his death and died as a result of multiple blunt force injuries, according to a final autopsy report issued Friday by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office. He was one of four crewmen who perished when the Aegean somehow crashed in the early morning of April 28.
Johnson, 57, of Torrance, was found in the water near Mexico’s Coronado Islands on April 28 and pulled out of the water by a man who was doing safety patrol for the race. According to the medical examiner’s report released Friday, Johnson had cuts on his face; multiple body abrasions; a large open wound on the back of his left upper thigh; and other blunt-force injuries.
Deputy Medical Examiner Steven Campman said in his report that there was no evidence to suggest Johnson drowned, and toxicological studies did not detect alcohol, drugs or carbon monoxide.
Johnson was wearing multiple layers of clothing and a heavy jacket, according to the report.
Final autopsy reports for Johnson’s fellow sailors—Kevin Rudolph of Manhattan Beach, Joe Stewart of Bradenton, Fla., and Theo Mavromatis of Redondo Beach—are expected to be released over the next few weeks. Initial reports showed Rudolph died from blunt-force injuries to his head and neck; Stewart drowned and sustained blunt-force injuries; and Mavromatis died from multiple blunt force injuries.
The deaths were the first in the history of the annual Newport Beach to Ensenada race. Along with a fifth crewman, the group had won their division in the race the year before.
The U.S. Coast Guard still has not released its report on the crash; however, an independent panel convened by U.S. Sailing concluded the yacht crashed into the north face of North Coronado Island in Mexico. The panel based its conclusions partially on data transmitted from Mavromatis’ handheld SPOT GPS tracker. The online log, which was deleted from the SPOT.us website after a week, showed the sailboat traveling in a straight line directly toward the island. The last signal was sent from the northern point of the island.
A small group of sailing enthusiasts conducting their own investigation discovered debris in the rocks near the tip of the island. They have shared the results of their investigation with the Coast Guard.