Retired surgeon drowns just 500km from home

A 69-year-old man, who spent seven summers completing a transatlantic voyage, died just 500km away from his final destination.

Dr. Edmund Cabot drowned when a freak wave pushed him over board off the coast of Stephenville in Newfoundland, Canada.

Dr Cabot was sailing home to Nova Scotia with two friends when he came out from below the decks to swap with the helmsman.

A rogue wave knocked the boat and pushed Dr. Cabot into the sea.

The helmsman managed to stay on board and tried to throw a line to Dr Cabot. The wave broke the sloop’s steering and, as she sped away from the retired surgeon, the two crew lost him in the waves.

Rescuers said that he was found wearing a life jacket with a light and a beacon, but neither had been activated.

“I am staggered that Ned could have been a victim of this kind of accident,” said friend Peter Ellis. “A more unlikely person for this to happen to would be hard to imagine. It just goes to show what anybody who’s spent time at sea knows: the sheer unpredictability of the oceans.”

The retired surgeon was sailing the final leg of a journey that took him from Greenland to Scotland, Ireland, Norway and into the Baltic Sea. Dr. Cabot spent six to eight weeks every summer in a bid to complete his transatlantic voyage.

“He was not a cowboy at sea,” said Mr Ellis. “He did not take the risks of the sea lightly, but he loved it.”