KEY WEST - Two offshore powerboat racers, involved in two separate accidents at Wednesday's Key West World Championship, remained in critical condition Thursday according to a hospital spokesperson at Miami's Cedars Medical Center.
Miami resident Carlos Gonzalez, 35, navigator of Mr. K/Frank's Marine was airlifted to Cedars Wednesday after his 33-foot boat slammed into a wave and broke apart near checkpoint 1, about 3 1/2 miles southwest of Key West. The boat's throttleman Jose Fereira, 41, of Miami, was pronounced dead on the scene after paramedic rescue divers and a trauma doctor attempted treatment. Funeral services for Fereria are scheduled for Friday.
The boat's driver, Rolando Garcia of Hialeah, Fla., is in stable condition at Lower Florida Keys Health System hospital.
A victim of a separate accident involving the collision of two boats was also airlifted to Cedars Wednesday evening. Chicago resident James Finkl, 32, is in critical condition with head, neck and shoulder injuries according to David Di Petrillo, medical and safety director for Super Boat Racing (SBR) the championship's coordinating sanctioning body.
Thursday, SBR along with Coast Guard and Florida Marine Patrol authorities began standard marine investigations of both accidents. In a news briefing Thursday, SBR officials said they were pleased with rescue and medical efforts associated with the two major accidents and four other incidents. They also added that wind and sea conditions Wednesday were well within racing parameters and continued plans to stage the event's final heat Sunday.
"Unfortunately this sport is very dangerous," said SBR President John Carbonell. "As a former racer, I know your life is on the blade of the sword at all times out there and anything can happen. Maybe that's why a lot these guys want to race."
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Last Modified on Thursday, November 09, 1995