A motor yacht that once carried Princess Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Al-Fayed, during their last summer holiday in southern France before their demise in a Paris car crash, has sunk in the Mediterranean.
The 62 foot (19 miles) luxury yacht, Cujo, sank approximately 21 miles (35 kilometers) off Beaulieu-sur-Mer after issuing a distress call last Saturday. The vessel was taking on water, prompting a timely response from teams in Antibes who managed to rescue all seven people on board before it ultimately sank.
The yacht now rests at a depth of 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) at the bottom of the Mediterranean. All passengers were taken safely back to shore.
Yacht made famous for hosting Diana and Dodi's last holiday has sunk in the French Riviera after an 'object struck its hull' https://t.co/BPlOgrCkUc
— LBC News (@LBCNews) August 3, 2023
Yacht used by Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed sinks in Mediterranean
The renowned yacht, Cujo, which gained worldwide attention in the summer of 1997, when Princess Diana was entertained on board by Dodi Al-Fayed, recently sank. The vessel had approximately seven thousand liters of diesel in its tanks at the time of the incident.
In 1997, just a year after her divorce from Prince Charles, Princess Diana spent time onboard Cujo with Dodi Al-Fayed, making headlines across the globe. During the same summer, she was also photographed on Sokar, another luxury vessel owned by Dodi’s billionaire father, Mohamed Al-Fayed. Sokar was formerly known as Jonikal.
Diana, Princess of Wales, died twenty-five years ago after a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris. Her death led to a global outpouring of grief and media attention. Much of the public reaction criticized the royal family for what many saw as an insensitive response to the sudden death of the Prince of Wales’ former wife.
History of the vessel
Cujo’s story began in 1972, when it was built in Italy for businessman John von Neumann, who requested the world’s fastest motor yacht from the Italian Baglietto shipyard. Though the vessel had an eventful history, it has now tragically sunk in the Mediterranean.
Originally equipped with two powerful eighteen-cylinder engines, the sleek yacht Cujo boasted an impressive top speed of forty-two knots. Built for speed and luxury, she changed hands multiple times over the years, with her fascinating journey intertwined with notable figures.
Her first owner, John von Neumann, sought the world’s fastest motor yacht when he commissioned Cujo’s construction in 1972 at the Italian Baglietto shipyard. Subsequently, she found herself under the ownership of the son of renowned Saudi businessman and arms dealer, Adnan Khashoggi, before finally being acquired by her eventual famous custodian, al Fayed, who was related to Khashoggi.
During her vibrant years, Cujo became a familiar sight moored off the glamorous shores of St. Tropez, the renowned celebrity haven on the French Riviera. This popular hotspot welcomed illustrious guests such as Clint Eastwood, Tony Curtis, and Bruce Willis, adding to the yacht’s allure.
Tragically, after the passing of Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed in a car accident in central Paris on August 31, 1997, Cujo’s fate took a downturn. Falling into neglect, she eventually faced decommissioning in 1999 and spent years in storage, her once gleaming exterior losing its luster.
Fortunately, new owners recognized the historical and celebrity significance of Cujo and took on the challenge of restoring her to her former glory. With a renewed lease on life, this iconic vessel continues to sail the seas, preserving the memories of its illustrious past.