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.
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.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.