Investigation opens into Dauphin Island Race tragedy

Stars & Stripes via AP

DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. — As the search for three missing boaters neared an end on the Alabama coast Thursday, authorities said they were launching an investigation into a sailboat race that ended in disaster when a deadly storm struck.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Carlos Vega said the beginning of the review coincided with officials winding down the hunt for survivors.

The Coast Guard, using a state law enforcement website, posted an online questionnaire for the hundreds of people who participated in the race. It included a question about whether they heard alerts concerning deteriorating weather conditions before the storm occurred.

“The Coast Guard and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency are conducting a joint investigation into the circumstances surrounding the events in Mobile Bay on Saturday during the Dauphin Island Regatta,” said the notice.

The survey was voluntarily, but officials said they needed responses to help determine what happened. Other questions included whether boaters saw anyone go overboard or aided with any rescues.

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