Report: ‘Reckless operation’ cited in BRP crash

Author:
Updated:
Original:

“Careless [and] reckless operation,” “operator inattention” and a “sudden sharp turn” were contributors to a BRP Corp. trial run crash in June that resulted in two dead, according to the preliminary report by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which was obtained by Trade Only Today through a Freedom Of Information Act request.

A 15-foot, 260-hp Sea-Doo Speedster wakeskate with two people was running alongside a 23-foot, 510-hp Sea-Doo 230 Challenger jetboat on Rend Lake in Benton, Ill., June 26, when the Speedster operator “executed a sharp left turn directly in the path” of the jetboat, according to the report.

“One of the boats, for whatever reason … pulled right out in front of the other one, so basically the other boat ran over them,” Jerry Hiller, Region Five captain of IDNR, told Trade Only the day after the crash.

The jetboat struck the Speedster just forward of midships and continued up and over the watercraft, according to the report, breaking off the Speedster’s throttle control.

That impact sent the Speedster operator, 38-year-old Larry Smithhart, who was employed at BRP’s Palm Bay, Fla., facility, into the water. His body was recovered the following day. The Speedster continued at 35 mph until it ran aground, traveling around 40 feet before hitting trees.

The impact with the trees ejected passenger Teresa Camargo, who worked at Milsco Manufacturing Co.’s Mexico location. Milsco is a BRP supplier. Camargo was airlifted to a Saint Louis hospital with severe head trauma and was later pronounced dead.

Another Milsco employee, a passenger on the jetboat, sustained a head injury, back pain and lacerations from the striking windshield and console, according to the report. He was admitted to the hospital, but there were no further details on his condition.

The operator of the jetboat, another BRP employee, was treated and released for bruising and soreness, and another passenger was treated at the scene.

No charges were filed.

The accident occurred on a sunny day at around 3 p.m. with relatively no wind, according to the report. Conditions were calm.

The bulk of the damage was to the Speedster, which accounted for around $21,000 of the estimated $27,000 both vessels sustained, the report said.

The investigation into the crash remains open.

— Reagan Haynes

Related

Yamaha Rightwaters To Launch Trash Interceptor

Developed in conjunction with the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, the device is designed to remove debris from waterways before it reaches the ocean.

Vessel Vanguard Releases Latest Management Platforms

The company upgraded the features, functionality and security of its suite of maintenance management programs.

Cox Marine Appoints COO

Gavin Wesson will oversee the continued development of the company’s diesel outboard.

Netherlands Eases Covid Measures as Metstrade Approaches

The moves by the Dutch government open up travel prior to the show, which is scheduled for Nov. 16-18 at RAI Amsterdam.

Coming to America

Swedish electric boat builder X Shore has established a North American sales office in Newport, R.I.

Registration Opens for ABYC Standards Week

Scheduled for Jan. 10-14, the conference includes sessions to review current and new standards, the group’s annual meeting and the Marine Law Symposium.

New Initiatives To Push Boating Safety

The Marine Industries Association of Southwest Florida and Discover Boating are promoting on-water safety, one in a digital format and and one analog.

Yamaha Develops Electric Propulsion System

The Harmo system comprises a rim-drive electric motor that turns an impeller.