Final Tally: 3 dead, 2 hospitalized with injuries in the Key West Super Boat World Championships.
Boating accidents are not uncommon in Florida, where tourists and residents alike enjoy nearly 1,200 miles of coastline, 7,700 lakes larger than 10 acres, and more than 11,000 miles of rivers, streams and waterways. Unfortunately, residents and visitors alike are also killed and injured as a result of water skiing, jet skiing, pleasure boating, and many other kinds of boating activities.
Last Wednesday, the opening day of the Key West Super Boat World Championships began with a bad omen for the multi-day event. Two of the racers, both visiting Florida from Missouri, were killed when their 46-foot Skater with four 1,200-horsepower engines crashed in Key West Harbor after the boat barrel-rolled and landed upside down, reported the Miami Herald. Despite being pulled onto a rescue boat by paramedics who jumped out of helicopters in the rescue attempt, the two men were pronounced dead at the Lower Keys Medical Center that afternoon.
On Friday, another racer was killed when his 28-foot boat with twin 850-horsepower engines rolled near an offshore turn. He was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and died early Saturday morning.
The event closed on Sunday with two more racers suffering injuries. Two men from New Jersey racing a 38-foot boat with twin 750-horsepower engines smacked their boat into a wave. One suffered a torn ear and possible concussion and was evacuated to Jackson Memorial Hospital. The other was treated at Lower Keys Medical Center. So far it is believed that neither men suffered life-threatening injuries.
In 2007 there were 77 fatalities caused by boating accidents in Florida alone, which led the entire country. With over 1 million registered vessels in Florida, there were over 650 reported boating accidents resulting in injury, death or serious damage. It is estimated that there are another 350,000 non-registered boats using Florida’s waterways.