TWO yacht skippers whose boats were involved in a fatal accident that killed a Wye Valley businessman should face manslaughter charges, say Italian marine investigators.

Dean Kronsbein – the owner of the Ultra-Filter Medical business in Ross-on-Wye that gave away thousands of masks during the pandemic – died in July 2022 after being thrown into the sea off the coast of Sardinia. 

The 61-year-old millionaire’s 88ft-long Amore yacht crashed into rocks after swerving to avoid the Sweet Dragon boat owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, says the official report. 

The wife and daughter of Mr Kronsbein, a friend of local Grand Tour presenter Richard Hammond, were also injured in the collision.

Marine investigators have ruled after an 11-month investigation that the accident was ‘due to the negligence of both captains’. And they say that Amore skipper Mario Lallone, 68, and  Luigi Cortese, 58, skipper of the Sweet Dragon, should face manslaughter charges over the businessman’s death.

Prosecutor Gregorio Capasso has accused them of ‘negligence, imprudence and inexperience’ in a report to magistrates in Sardinia, who are expected to lodge charges.

The report 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.

When the yachts suddenly came upon each other, the Amore skipper steered right when he should have gone left, smashing into the rocks, says the report. The Sweet Dragon’s skipper has claimed he was sailing correctly and had to carry out a drastic manoeuvre.

The file also recommends that both skippers are charged with causing a disaster and non-observance of sea safety regulations.

The businessman’s wife Sabine, 60, and daughter Sophia, 28 – who lived with him at their Wyeside Cubberley House home near Walford, Ross-on-Wye – were also injured and were airlifted to hospital.

Mr Kronsbein, who had a holiday home on Sardinia, was pulled conscious from the sea by a passing yacht , according to the report, but later died of his injuries from being thrown overboard.

Berlusconi, who died in June and also had a home on the island, was not aboard Sweet Dragon at the time of the accident, but ‘members of his extended family’ who were have been questioned as witnesses.

The Ross businessman hosted Bentley Drivers’ Club events at his Wye Valley home, and shared an interest in classic motors with Weston-under-Penyard-based former Top Gear presenter Mr Hammond. The star said he was ‘heartbroken’ after hearing of his friend’s death.

“He really was a larger than life character and I know people often say that, but he really was and the world needs more people like him,” he said at the time.

“He was a big-hearted, fun character who wanted people to enjoy themselves when they were with him and he was also an astute businessman. 

“He opened factories in Ross-on-Wye, who does that for goodness sake!? I just can’t believe I won’t see him again in his colourful waistcoat and looking at his pocket watch,” he added.