French skipper in fatal collision released on bail pending trial

French skipper in fatal collision released on bail pending trial

A prosecutor and an investigative magistrate in the southern Greek city of Nafplio released on bail the 44-year-old French skipper of an inflatable boat that slammed into a fishing boat, killing two people and severely injuring one.

According to a local newspaper, the suspect was ordered to pay 50,000 euros and will have to appear every month at the French embassy in Belgium, where he resides.

In his initial deposition at the port authorities in Porto Heli, the man reportedly said that he didn’t see the small fishing boat which may not have been properly lit.

This statement, however, contradicts the preliminary Coast Guard report which said the fishing boat had its lights on and that the inflatable vessel accelerated before the collision.

The suspect also rebuffed accusations of disappearing after the incident, saying he tried to rescue the people who were thrown into the sea and was injured himself. He said he swam to the shore to seek medical care and speak to an attorney.

The accident occurred Friday night near the resort of Porto Heli, about 200 kilometers south of Athens.

The 10-meter (30-foot) inflatable speedboat carrying eight foreign nationals hit a five-meter wooden fishing boat with three Greeks aboard. The smaller boat sank and the two men who were on, aged 60 and 70, it were recovered dead. A 60-year-old woman who was on the smaller craft was severely injured.

The results of a blood test on the skipper for alcohol are also awaited Monday.

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