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P&O man in dock over yacht deaths

JASON DOWNER: one of the three sailors who died
JASON DOWNER: one of the three sailors who died

A KENT man has been charged with three counts of manslaughter by gross negligence after the disappearance of the yacht Ouzo and the deaths of three sailors.

Ferry worker George Hubble, 61, of Wine House Lane, Capel-le-Ferne, near Folkestone, appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates' Court and was bailed until later this month. He had been working on the P&O ferry Pride of Bilbao on the day the yacht disappeared.

The three yachtsmen who died in the tragedy, in August last year, included Jason Downer, 35, from Broadstairs.

The Ouzo had left the Isle of Wight at about 7.30pm on August 20, bound for the Dartmouth Regatta.

As well as Mr Downer, James Meaby and Rupert Saunders, both 36 and from London were on board when the yacht disappeared.

Mr Meaby’s body was found in the Channel on August 22 and the bodies of the other two men were found on August 23. The Ouzo has never been found.

There followed an investigation by Hampshire Constabulary Major Crime Department and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Mr Hubble was an agency worker employed as second mate on the Pride of Bilbao on its journey from Portsmouth to Bilbao.

Senior investigating Officer Det Insp Nigel Niven, said: "We would still ask anybody with information to make contact with us."

Anyone with information should ring 0845 045 45 45 and ask for Operation Coxswain.

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