San Diego

Man Airlifted to Hospital Following Boat Crash Off Imperial Beach Dies

A yacht collided with a fishing boat with 29 people on board, seriously damaging the boat and injuring several people.

A man died after a fishing boat collided with a yacht off the coast of Imperial Beach, the U.S. Coast Guard said Saturday.

Richard Neff was on a fishing trip with friends when the incident happened around 7:50 p.m. Friday.

“Everyone was just in shock at what happened,” deck hand Andrew Warren said.

A 332-foot yacht, Attessa IV, crashed into the 65-foot Prowler with 29 people on it, the agency said.

It occurred about 9 miles from the coast, near Mexico's maritime border.

“It’s like getting bit by a shark – it’s going to happen once in a great while, and all it is is people aren't paying attention,” fisherman Alan Dyer told NBC 7.

The crash caused extensive damage to the starboard quarter of the sports fishing boat, disabling it and critically injuring Neff and several others, the Coast Guard said.

It took the Coast Guard about an hour to arrive on the scene and airlifted Neff to UC San Diego Medical Center-Hillcrest where he died Saturday morning, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Joel Guzman said.

Seventeen people, including two with injuries, were taken to San Diego by the Coast Guard's 45-foot Response Boat-Medium.

The remaining 10 passengers were returned to San Diego aboard the Attessa IV.

The captain of the Prowler remained on board to wait for a commercial salvage boat to tow it to shore, according to Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard's Sea Otter, which was diverted to assist with the rescue effort, remained on scene with the Prowler.

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