Sprint boat crashes into crowd near Albany - KPTV - FOX 12

Bad turn: Racing boat leaves water, crashes into crowd near Albany

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TANGENT, OR (KPTV) -

A high-speed boat flew out of the water during a local race, skidded across the ground and crashed right into a crowd of people.

It happened on Saturday near Albany at the Jet Sprint Boat Races.

Organizers said the driver took a bad turn, hit the edge of the track and flew up onto land. Amazingly, however, nobody was seriously hurt.

Investigators said the track has fence and cables to protect spectators, but the sharp points of the 1,200-pound boat sliced through the fence like a knife.

"It was just the fastest boat I've seen hit a fence," said organizer Kyle Patrick.

Radio announcer Bill Lunden was calling the race and tried to warn people.

"I was simply telling them get out of the way, get away," he said. "I mean, I knew it was going to hit the fence, that is for sure."

Investigators said a boy was grazed by the boat, but not badly hurt.

The race season is now over for the year at that track, but Patrick said he is already working with safety experts and a local fence company to strengthen the fence and cables.

He said the driver of the boat is from Canada and this is his first season racing sprint boats. Lunden said even drivers with 10 years experience can crash.

"If you're going 60 or 70 mph in a 14-foot wide channel, there's not a whole lot of room for error," he said.

Paramedics are at the scene for every race and the fire chief said it's been a very safe event since it started six years ago.

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