Yacht used by Princess Diana in her final summer sinks to bottom of the sea

A yacht on which Diana, Princess of Wales, spent part of her final summer alive has sunk in the Mediterranean.

Cujo, which once belonged to the Egyptian film titan Dodi Al Fayed, sank on Monday about 35km off the coast of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France, on July 29.

Alpes-Maritimes police said on Facebook Monday that maritime officers responded to a distress call at 12:30pm of a 19-foot boat with seven people on board.

A rescue boat pulled up about 45 minutes later to find the yacht’s bow partially submerged with ‘cabins of the yacht already flooded’.

The seven passengers, including the ship’s owner, were floating safely nearby in a life raft, the departmental force added.

‘Only a few suitcases located in the kitchen and on the deck could be retrieved by the gendarmes,’ Alpes-Maritimes police said, using the French word for local police officers.

‘The skipper of the Cujo issued a Mayday,’ said one officer. ‘His ship was sinking due to a leak.

‘Rescue boats were sent from Antibes, and, after making sure everyone was safe, gendarmes detected a significant water leak at the level of the starboard front hull.

‘Her owner had activated the pumps and kept the engines running, but this didn’t stop the boat sinking’.

Rescuers left the scene about 18 nautical miles off the coast with the passengers in tow, watching as the vessel ‘slowly darkened’ and sank 8,200, the force said.

Those rescued included the motor yacht’s latest owner, an Italian man with a home on the French Riveria.

In breezy white shorts, photographs of Diana and Dodi aboard the Cujo hit propelled the couple into the headlines in August 1997.

Diana and Dodi, the son of the billionaire Harrods owner Mohammed Fayed, started dating after she took Prince William and Prince Harry to St Tropez to vacation with his family.

Cujo had for years been the playboy’s floating playground for extravagant parties.

After the trip, Diana penned the producer a letter thanking him.

‘This comes with all the love in the world and as always a million heartfelt thanks for bringing such joy into this chick’s life,’ the letter read, according to the Associated Press.

But only weeks later, both would be killed in a Paris car crash after a high-speed chase fleeing from paparazzi pursuing them in cars and motorcycles after a date.

As Britain mourned, the Cujo fell into disrepair. It was built in Italy in 1972 for John von Neumann, a high-powered car dealer and socialist keen to own the world’s fastest yacht.

The yacht was then passed around by some of the world’s wealthiest figures: Van Neumann then sold the boat to the son of Adnan Khashoggi, the world’s richest arms dealer, and he sold her on to his cousin, Dodi.

Yet Cujo was decommissioned following Dodi’s death and spent years in storage before a new owner in 2020 won it at auction for $250,000 and brought it back to sea.

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