Yachtsman Laurent Bourgnon Reported Missing in French Polynesia

25 June 2015

Update: June 29, 2015

After five days of searching for missing yachtsman Laurent Bourgnon, who failed to return from a diving trip in French Polynesia, officials have called off the search, reports the Associated Press.

Bourgnon's brother, Yvan, has not given up hope and is keeping a ship and several boats in the area to continue looking for his brother.

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Original Story: June 25, 2015

A search began yesterday for Laurent Bourgnon, a famous yachtsmanwho is reportedly missing after failing to return from a dive off Fakavara inFrench Polynesia on June 24.

Bourgnon organized a diving trip with four tourists andthree crewmembers on his boat. According to The Associated Press, MarieBaville, the cabinet director for the head of Polynesia’s governing council,said the boat was anchored in the Toau atoll, about 400 kilometers from Tahitiin the Tuamotu Archipelago when the incident occurred.

The tourists and an instructor went diving together whileBourgnon went diving on his own. The diving group encountered difficultiesreaching the surface, but Bourgnon never returned. The chef and a hostess onthe yacht struggled raising the alarm as Bourgnon reportedly was the only onewho knew how to operate the onboard communications system, reported The Sydney Morning Herald.

A rescue helicopter flew over the area twice late Wednesdayafternoon, but was unsuccessful in locating the missing yachtsman. The searchwas due to resume this Thursday morning.

Yvan Bourgnon, Bourgnon’s brother who just completed a circumnavigation,told the Associated Press he will join the research crew to look for hisbrother “night and day,” adding that his brother is a fighter who can hold outseveral days adrift in the open sea.

Laurent Bourgnon built the first Sunreef 70-foot S/Y Jambo to circumnavigate the world withhis family. He crossed the Atlantic for the first time in 1986 and won theSolitaire du Figaro two years later. He went on to win the prestigious Route duRhum transatlantic sailing race from Brittany, France, to Guadeloupe in 1994and 1998.

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