Crash kills powerboat racers at Key West event

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Two racers were killed when their boat barrel-rolled and landed upside down in Wednesday's opener of the Key West Super Boat World Championships.

Big Thunder Marine owner/throttleman Bob Morgan of Sunrise Beach, Mo., and driver Jeffrey Tillman of Kaiser, Mo., were pronounced dead at Lower Keys Medical Center.

Morgan was the owner of the Big Thunder Motorsports Park and Marina Complex on Lake of the Ozarks.

Big Thunder, a 46-foot Skater with four 1,200-horsepower engines, crashed in Key West Harbor during the race’s third lap in front of spectators at Mallory Square. The boat’s cockpit was crushed and one of the sponsons was torn off.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to their families,” Super Boat International Productions spokesman Rodrick Cox said in a statement.

A memorial service for Morgan and Tillman was scheduled for this morning in the race pits at the Truman Waterfront. The second race of the three-event series will go on as scheduled Friday and Sunday, according to race director John Carbonell.

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