The body found near the Coronado Islands over the weekend is that of Redondo Beach resident Theo Mavromatis, the skipper of the ill-fated 37-foot sailboat Aegean, the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Tuesday morning. Mavromatis had been missing since the wreckage of the boat and the bodies of three of its crew were discovered in a two-mile debris field April 28.
Mavromatis, 49—along with Kevin Eric Rudolph, 53, of Manhattan Beach; William Reed Johnson Jr., 57, of Torrance; and Joseph Lester Stewart, 64, of Bradenton, Fla.—lost his life while participating in the annual Lexus Newport Beach to Ensenada Yacht Race.
Mavromatis, Rudolph and Johnson died from blunt-force injuries, while Stewart drowned after sustaining blunt-force injuries to his head, according to the medical examiner.
San Clemente resident John Spike Ivins and Huntington Beach resident Kevin Veal discovered Mavromatis’ body while they were fishing near the Coronado Islands on Sunday afternoon.
"Kevin and I saw something in the Middle Grounds (Coronado Islands) which at first we thought was a dead, bloated sea lion," Ivins told Phil Friedman Outdoors. "As we got closer to the floating object, we were stunned to see human arms and legs.
"(It was) absolutely shocking."
Ivins said the body was bloated, decomposed and had neither hair nor clothes. Ivins called the U.S. Coast Guard and stayed with the body until they arrived. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Monday that the body would be identified through dental records.
“My wife sent me some articles on Mavromatis, and that’s when it hit home,” Ivins said. “I thought about his family and my kids today. It’s just very sad.”
A floating debris field suggested that the ill-fated Hunter 376 collided with a larger vessel—a theory initially advanced by race officials. Others have suggested, based on data from Mavromatis' GPS tracker, that the boat collided with the northern tip of the Coronado Islands at about 1:30 a.m. April 28.
The accident occurred just south of the U.S.-Mexico border, about eight miles off the Baja California coast.
The Coast Guard is investigating the crash, according to Coast Guard spokesman Henry Dunphy. He said the agency’s accident probes generally take four to six weeks to complete.
Additionally, the U.S. Sailing Association will convene a review panel to investigate the crash. Anyone with information is asked to contact email@example.com.
Race organizers said the fatalities were the first in the 65-year history of the race.
City News Service contributed to this report.