The Simplon, one of the largest paddle steamers on Lake Geneva, struck a yacht on Sunday. A 15-year-old boy suffered serious injuries to one arm in the incident. One other person was injured when forced to jump from the yacht.
The incident occurred on Lake Geneva, about a kilometer offshore from the port of Nyon, in the canton of Vaud.
Shortly before noon, the 78.5-metre-long "Belle Époque" paddle steamer was heading toward the medieval village of Yvoire, on the south side of the lake, when it collided with the yacht.
24heures newspaper reports that It was just 15 minutes before the start of the Luthi 870 sailing regatta organized by SNN, Nyon’s sailing club or “société nautique.”
The paper reported that the force of the collision broke the mast of the yacht, which probably led to the 15-year-old's injuries. Another person was injured as the four passengers had to jump from the yacht.
The Simplon, a paddle steamer dating back to 1920, on Lake Geneva, Switzerland.
The sailors were picked up by other boats in the area.
The Simplon is operated by CGN, the Lake Geneva General Navigation Company. Spokeswoman for the company, Kathia Mettan stated that the company’s vessels have priority over pleasure boats.
Christian Schlappi, vice chairman of the Nyon sailing club, told the media:
“We are shocked and very sorry that there has been an injured person, a youth who was starting his career as a navigator.”
According to Schlappi, he was not sure exactly how the accident happened. He said:
“It is likely that the CGN’s vessel had underestimated the speed of the sailboat while the skipper of (the sailboat) had not precisely seen where the Simplon was because it would have been hidden behind a sail.”According to Schlappi, the skipper of the yacht was the best of the regatta and had lots of experience.
The damaged yacht ended up jammed under part of the Simplon’s hull in front of its paddlewheels and has been taken to a boat repair yard at Crans-près-Céligny.
The Simplon, a paddle steamer dating back to 1920, is capable of carrying almost 1,000 passengers, and was also slightly damaged. However, the vessel was able to continue on its way shortly after the incident.
The video below shows the Simplon in action on Lake Geneva: