Speedboat racer ejected at 110 mph, fatally injured during competition in California



A speedboat racer competing in the Long Beach National Sprint Championships was fatally injured after his ship overturned at around 110 mph, ejecting him from his cockpit on the last day of the event on Sunday August 8, an event organizer said.

  • Howard Freshman, Contributing Photographer

    Ross Wallach, president of the California Speedboat Club, reflects on the day’s tragedy near the crash site on Sunday afternoon, August 8, 2021.

  • Ross Wallach, president of the California Speedboat Club, reflects on the day’s tragedy near the crash site on Sunday afternoon, August 8, 2021. (Photo by Howard Freshman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Ross Wallach, president of the California Speedboat Club, chats with a colleague on Sunday afternoon, August 8, 2021 (Photo by Howard Freshman, Contributing Photographer)

The accident has happened at 12:53 p.m. at Marine Stadium, Long Beach Fire Department spokesman Brian Fisk said. A boat struck an area of ​​rough water, causing it to “jump” and make contact with another vessel, said Ross Wallach, president of the Southern California Speedboat Club, which hosts the speedboat event.

The injured rider was thrown out of his boat as he rolled over, said Wallach, who also said the injured rider later died. He declined to immediately name the runner until the confirmation family was notified.

“The constantly changing water conditions can cause disturbances and trouble in the water and (the boat) has veered right and tipped like a corkscrew and the driver has been ejected.” , Wallach said.

Wallach said there were no abnormal weather conditions that could have contributed to the destabilization of the water and that it was likely from other boats disturbing the water. He said the phenomenon is known as “falling into a hole”.

“That’s the whole idea of ​​the race: to read the water and understand how the water can react,” said Wallach.

The Long Beach city manager has decided to cancel the remainder of Sunday’s event in order to investigate, Wallach said. Firefighters are investigating the cause of the accident.

“The news of the collision today is extremely disturbing,” City Councilor Suzie Price, whose third district includes Marine Stadium, said in a text message Sunday night.

The collision, coupled with a fatal accident three years ago, “warrants a full evaluation of this activity and whether it is something that (the) City of Long Beach should continue to host.”

Firefighters said the patient was a man in his 30s. Wallach described him as a “very good friend”. He said the boater was a very experienced pilot and a respected competitor in his division.

The boater was competing in a “K” class race, which is the fastest class in the event, Wallach said. While these boaters can reach speeds of up to 150 mph, Wallach said the boaters involved were accelerating and had not yet reached top speed before the crash.

A third boat participating in the race had fallen behind the two involved in the incident, Wallach said.

The unharmed runner was consumed with guilt immediately after the crash, Wallach said.

“But neither of them did anything to cause it,” Wallach said after viewing footage of the crash. “And (the fatally injured man) is a skilled racer, but once the boat overturned he was essentially a passenger at that point.”

Sunday’s crash was at least the second to cause injuries during this year’s national sprint championships, Wallach said. Another person was also thrown from his boat during a race on Saturday and injured his shoulder.

The competitor who was killed three years ago died of blunt injuries related to a trauma suffered in an accident at the event when he was struck twice by another boat, Wallach said.

Writer Chris Haire contributed to this story.



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