As hundreds of spectators on Mallory Pier watched in horror in Key West yesterday, a powerboat skipping across the water during the Super Boat World Championships hit a wake, caught too much air, and violently flipped. A helicopter rushed to the crash, but the boat's pilot and throttleman were both killed when the cockpit was completely crushed in the accident, which several fans caught on video.
The Miami Herald identifies the dead boaters as Bob Morgan, owner of Big Thunder Marina in Sunrise Beach, Missouri, and Jeffrey Tillman of Kaiser, Missouri.
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Their 46-foot boat, called Big Thunder, was left crushed and torn by the impact of the crash.
The deaths are the first since 1995 in the tournament, which is considered "the Indianapolis 500" of speedboat racing, at least according to the Herald.
Memorials for Morgan and Tillman will be held before the second race in the tourney continues as scheduled Friday.