KEY WEST, FL – Two powerboat racers died after their catamaran crashed on Wednesday, at the opening of the Key West World Championship.
The catamaran, named Big Thunder Marine, was 46-feet long and went airborne due to traveling at high speeds. It then came crashing down with force. The victims were throttleman Robert M. Morgan, of Sunrise Beach, Mo., and driver Jeffrey Tillman, of Kaiser, Mo.
The crash happened right next to a spectator area. Superboat International President John Carbonell recalls the incident: “He was probably going about 130 mph and the boat’s propellers were barely in the water. The boat apparently caught some air and went bow (front) up; straight into the air, came down and went backwards.”
The victims were transported to Lower Keys Medical Center. Tillman died either before or just after arriving at the hospital, and Morgan died soon after being placed in an air trauma ambulance.
Morgan had actually retired, but came out this year to race. Despite the tragedy, the race continued as scheduled but was stopped before the seventh lap due to another accident. The races will resume as planned on Friday.
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