Divers gather video at Aegean wreck site

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Solving a mystery is not always the duty of private investigators, agencies or organizations. Recently, it was two San Diegans — lifeguard Ed Harris and boatowner Russell Moore (owner of Xplore Offshore, a La Jolla-based vessel) — who shed some light on a tragic, and fatal accident of the 37-ft sloop Aegean.

The original conclusions of the United States Sailing Association investigation committee speculated that the boat ran aground. Harris and Moore dove for their own evidence. In three trips, they were able to record more than an hour of video footage of the wreck, and get relevant electronics off the boat that could shed valuable light on whether it actually collided with a larger vessel. 

Harris and Moore's evidence has been submitted to the USCG, but won't become public until it is approved by officials in Washington, D.C..

No signs or leads were discovered until the second visit of the pair to the site, and they've withheld their findings due to lack of concrete evidence. “It’s all mangled and broken up like it’s been in a Cuisinart for four months,” Moore stated. “We were really just trying to conclude a mystery that has intrigued a lot of sailors and boaters here and nationwide,” He noted that the investigation is up to the USCG and other authorities, but he suspects the Aegean did not in fact collide with a larger vessel, and the only definite truth is the tragedy itself. 

Victims of the sinking were: William Reed Johnson Jr., 57, of Torrance; Joseph Lester Stewart, 64, of Bradenton, Fla.; Kevin Rudolph, 53, of Manhattan Beach; and Theo Mavromatis, 49, of Redondo Beach.

By Ocean Navigator