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Top publishing executive killed in horror speedboat accident

An American tourist who died in a boat incident off the Amalfi coast in Italy on Thursday has been identified as 45-year-old Adrienne Vaughan, the president of the world-renowned publisher Bloomsbury’s American branch.

Vaughan, according to Italian news media reports, was on holiday in Europe with her husband Mike White, and their children Leanna and Mason. The family was on a 29-foot speedboat off the Amalfi coast, near the southern city of Naples, when the vessel collided with a 130-foot sailing ship transporting about 85 people—German and American tourists—who were celebrating a wedding.

Vaughan was reportedly pushed overboard during the collision and fell into the water, where she was fatally struck by the boat’s propeller. Despite emergency services attending to her, with two ambulances and a helicopter reportedly rushed to the scene, she was declared dead before she could be taken to a hospital.

A stock photo showing the Amalfi coast, South Italy. Bloomsbury USA President Adrianne Vaughan was killed in a boat accident on Thursday while traveling with her family.iStock / Getty Images

Her husband, who had also fallen into the water, was taken to the hospital with some injuries but survived the incident. The two children of the couple were uninjured, though local media reported they were panicked seeing their mother in the water.

Vaughan had become president of Bloomsbury USA, the American branch of the prestigious British publishing house which has published all the Harry Potter books, in September 2021, according to her LinkedIn page, a role which she had covered now for almost two years. Between 2015 and 2018 she had worked for the editorial group at Disney.

Italian news media write that visiting Italy was her dream, and that 24 hours before her tragic incident she was walking the streets of Rome and exploring the Eternal City.

Italian authorities have opened an investigation into Vaughan’s death.

This is a breaking news story and will be later updated.

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