Lone sailor tells his side of the story


AS mystery continues to surround the disappearance of well-known sailor Andrew Witton, the last man to see him alive has told his side of the story.

Following the article published in The Advocate on December 4 which described the disappearance of Mr Witton, we have been contacted via email by Simon Golding the man who was aboard when Mr Witton disappeared.

Mr Golding wrote of sleepless days and nights, massive health complications and a terrifying 45-day ordeal at sea alone aboard a yacht that was ill-equipped.

"When I stopped searching for Andy, it was the hardest decision I have ever had to make. I had not slept in days and found myself in a 61-knot storm (64 knots is a cyclone). It was totally impossible to stay and search," he wrote.

"I had to deal with no fresh water, a sinking vessel, motor problems, torn sails and sailing a 55m yacht on my own for 45 days with very little sleep, and this is just to mention the main problems. I saw one yacht in all this time two weeks after Andy disappeared and made radio contact with them.

"I was very lucky to make it to any land at all but when I did it was the Galapagos Islands.

"There, all the authorities were informed, and Andy's disappearance was investigated by various organisations including the police, the Navy, prosecutors, judges and the UK, Canadian and Australian embassies."

Mr Golding explained the investigation included numerous experts examining Kaileia (Mr Witton's yacht), and continued for six months during which time he was unable to leave the Galapagos Islands.

"Toward the end of these investigations, many months later, I found myself in a mainland South American hospital, paralysed, blind and dying as a result of complications and injuries caused directly from the stricken voyage," he wrote.

"Comments implying the Ecuadorians and other authorities including the Australian embassy did not thoroughly look into the situation are just wrong.

"All involved in these investigations and who actually know the facts are satisfied all has been done thoroughly.

"People who knew Andy and who know me will hopefully draw their own conclusions from the facts rather than from speculation, inaccurate assumptions, and stories surrounding this tragedy."

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