Key West World Offshore Super Boat Championship

November 10, 1995

Key West -Jonh Carbonell and Dave DiPetrillo (Medical Coordinator for SBR) held aconference at 3:30 on Nov 9 to answer questions from the media concerning theaccident on Wednesday and the race plans for Sunday.


Regarding the accident on Wednesday:

Dave indicated that he had received no information since Wednesday nightregarding the condition of any of the injured racers. He, however, expectedno significant changes in conditions of any of the injured over the next 12to 24 hours - in other words all were in stable condition. Reports fromoutside of the briefing indicated that James Finkel - driver of the BlackShadow, awokeyesterday from an induced coma and recognized his mother at the hospital. Hehas broken vertebra and lacerations as well as swelling of the brain, but isexpected to recover. Rolando Garcia, driver of Mr K, was also reported instable condition.

The Coast Guard is investigating all the accidents that occurred Wednesday,as is normal procedure whenever any incident occurs at sea. Carbonellindicated that it was unknown if the Production class boat was disabled atthe time of the accident, or if it cut in front of Zerodefect.

With respect to the crash during the first race (Mr. K), a reporter fromMiami asked about what it's like to crash at 80 mph. Dave said "Everythingdisintegrates around you." He basically compared it to running into a brickwall. Di Petrillo went on to say that "sometimes a wave has your name onit".

Overall, Carbonell said that the drivers were happy with the rescues onWednesday; that Dave's staff did an outstanding job with fast response time.It took less than three minutes to get four rescue divers to the P-boat, andless than 15 minutes to get the injured driver of Black Shadow to land fortransport to the hospital.

On Wednesday, 11 persons were sent to the hospital in 3 hours, and 20 racerswere treated on-site for injuries. There were 6 reported incidents duringthe two races.


Carbonell was questioned about the length of the race on Sunday. Heindicated that since there was only a 2 hour slot of satellite time availablefor the live feed to Argentina and Uraguay, the race could be shortened toaccomodate time at the end for interviews with the winners. ESPN will betaping the race for later broadcast (Both ESPN 1 and 2).

One reporter asked about going to a three race option to reduce the number ofboats on the course at any one time. Carbonell said that SBR did this untilthe late 1980s and it was his feeling that accidents would happen no matterwhat format the race was handled in. He said " this a dangerous sport - thisis what make a lot of the guys want to race."

Carbonell said that the course that is set up is "the safest course in KeyWest", when asked if he was considering change the course layout.

It is the opinion of Carbonell that most accidents are single boat accidents,and that crashes like the one on Wednesday are rare.

There have been 5 deaths at Key West, the last one in 1991.


Seas were 2 to 4 feet on Wednesday, not particularly rough. The conditionsare constantly monitored during the race, and the race may be shortened dueto conditions if deemed so by race officials. However, in previous yearsconditions were far rougher than those encountered on Wednesday.

The issue of this being the worlds and racers taking more risks was broughtup. Carbonell said "at the worlds, you're running for all the marbles", towhich Di Petrillo replied there are "people taking more chances than theyshould be taking".

This was followed by questions about whether this is a sport where one can"buy his way in". Carbonell begged to differ, stating that racers arerequired to run in 2 national races before being invited to the worlds. Inaddition everyone must pass certain tests such as the dunk test before beingallowed to compete (although racers on Wednesday were allowed to run withoutmeeting this requirement).

- by Margaret Hart - The Offshore Powerboat Racing Homepage

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Last Modified on Friday, November 10, 1995