London: Late Hollywood actress Natalie Wood could have been saved from drowning had a distress call been made more quickly from her yacht, a book has claimed.
According to the author of ‘Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour’ Marti Rulli, the ‘Splendour In The Grass’ actress was wearing a padded coat over her nightdress which would have acted “like a flotation device”.
The book, co-written with the boat’s skipper Dennis Davern, has prompted the police to reopen their investigation into Wood’s mysterious death 30 years ago after a party on board the vessel she owned with her actor husband, Robert Wagner.
Rulli’s astonishing revelation came after he had tests carried out on the same style of coat the academy award winner had been wearing at the time of her death.
“The tests proved that a down jacket such as the one she had on acts as a life preserver in water. It will not sink but remains floating,” the Daily Express quoted Rulli as saying.
Davern and Rulli also revealed that the police had ignored two witnesses in the aftermath of the tragedy in November 1981.
“I believe there may have been a true chance of saving Natalie, as the condition of her body after being brought ashore suggested she may have floated alive for several hours,” former coast guard officer Roger Smith said.
Marilyn Wayne, whose boat had been moored close to Splendour, said that she had heard a woman’s voice crying for help.
“Help me, someone please help me. I’m drowning,” Wayne said.