TWO yacht skippers involved in a fatal sailing accident that killed a millionaire Wye Valley businessman have been ordered to appear in court later this month to answer charges of manslaughter and shipwreck.
Dean Kronsbein, 63 – the owner of the Ultra-Filter Medical business in Ross-on-Wye – died in July 2022 after being thrown into the sea off the coast of Sardinia, when his 88ft-long luxury yacht almost collided with a boat owned by former Italian president Silvio Berlusconi off the jet set holiday destination of Porto Cervo.
The public prosecutor’s office in the island town of Tempio Pausania has filed for the two captains to face charges, with Mario Lallone, 68, and Luigi Cortese, 58, told to appear in court on November 28.
Lallone was skippering Mr Kronsbein’s yacht Amore, while Cortese was captain of the Sweet Dragon, which had members of the Berlusconi family on board at the time, although the controversial former president, who has since died, was reportedly not on the Magnum 70 motorboat.
An in-depth reconstruction of the accident by the Italian Coast Guard concluded that the two boats were sailing on a collision course at high speed in the stretch of sea between Li Nibari and the Rocce islet.
The Amore yacht swerved to avoid the collision and hit the rocks when Mr Kronsbein – a vintage car fan and friend of local Grand Tour TV star Richard Hammond – was thrown overboard, suffering fatal injuries.
His wife Sabine and daughter Sophia also suffered injuries in the accident, which happened on Sunday, July 31, last year.
The prosecution report to the court in Sardinia accuses the skippers of ‘negligence, imprudence and inexperience’.
It highlights that the yachts were sailing fast towards each other ‘at between 26-28 knots’ off islands on the north-east coast of the millionaires’ playground, in waters where navigation is banned.
Lallone has told investigators he was forced to suddenly change course to avoid colliding with the other boat, a version that Mr Kronsbein’s family have reportedly backed.
But the commander of the Sweet Dragon claims that the Amore yacht made the wrong manoeuvre, causing the collision with the islet rocks.
More than a year on from the accident, public prosecutor Daniele Rosa has now released the Berlusconi yacht from seizure after a lengthy investigation that pored over the boat and its systems.
All the data in the GPS and in the engines of the motorboat were downloaded to reconstruct the dynamics of the accident.
Mr Kronsbein, whose business gave away thousands of free masks during the pandemic, lived just outside Ross with his family at Cubberley House, Hom Green. Like Mr Hammond, he was a vintage car enthusiast and hosted motoring events at his home.