Saturday 17 February 2018

Crewmate arrested after British yachtsman goes missing on trip around the world

Tom Lawrence

A MAN has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of a British yachtsman who vanished in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Sean Terry, 48, went missing while piloting his boat from the paradise islands of the Maldives to Madagascar during a round-the-world sailing trip.

The quantity surveyor, who took early retirement to sail solo around the world, was last heard from on June 18, according to his family.

A week later his 40ft yacht Finnegan was piloted into the island of Coetivy off the coast of the Seychelles by Stefan Pokorny, an Austrian scuba diving instructor who had joined Mr Terry on board, they said.

Mr Pokorny has been arrested in connection with the disappearance and is due to appear in court in the Seychelles later this week.

Judith Middleton, a spokeswoman for Mr Terry's family in South Africa, said Mr Pokorny had told police his sole crewmate had jumped off the boat in a fit of anger.

But she told The Independent there were details in his story that did not "add up".

"Pokorny came on board the yacht as an experienced and strong diver and the family wants to know why he did not do more to rescue Sean," she said.

"He told police that Sean got angry and jumped off the boat, but that does not add up. He told police it happened at night and in bad weather but other ships in the area said the weather was fine.

"The man-over-board button was not pressed and the satellite communication equipment was not used to radio for help. The family are desperate for answers."

Ms Middleton said Mr Terry was looking forward to spending Christmas with his family and would not have contemplated suicide.

The yachtsman's two laptops, which he used to contact family and friends, and the ship's logbook were missing when the it arrived in the Seychelles, she added.

Police in the Seychelles said Mr Pokorny was being held in custody pending an investigation into the disappearance and would be appearing in court on Thursday.

No charges are yet to be laid against him, a force spokesman said.

The Foreign Office said it had been informed about the incident.

A FCO spokeswoman said: "We are aware of the disappearance of a dual British/South African citizen who went missing near the Seychelles and are providing consular assistance to the family."

British-born Mr Terry grew up in South Africa but returned to the UK to work a quantity surveyor in Watford, Hertfordshire.

Irish Independent

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