Sailing: British crew member dies in round the world race

LONDON - A British crew member of a yacht taking part in the Clipper Round the World race has died after an accident off the coast of Portugal, his team said in on Saturday.

Paramedic Andrew Ashman, 49, was reefing a sail on the IchorCoal entry around midnight on Friday during the first leg from London to Brazil when he was knocked unconscious. "We are deeply saddened to report the death of crew member Mr Andrew Ashman, our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time," a statement posted on the official website of the race said.

It added: "Andy was knocked unconscious by the mainsheet and possibly the boom (although not confirmed). He was given immediate medical assistance and attempted resuscitation but failed to regain consciousness." The yacht was diverting to Porto in northern Portugal and was expected to arrive on Sunday.

An investigation has been launched, organisers said.

The 40,000 nautical mile race offers crewing places to members of the public even without previous sailing experience although Ashman was described as an experienced yachtsman.

It began in London on Aug 30.

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