Three killed in Florida raceboat accidents

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Three boaters died over the weekend during a regatta on Florida's Lake Dora.

A crash Sunday took the life of Charles “Chuck” Woodruff, 64, of Jensen Beach, and Dea Wiseley, 73, of Sun City Center, near Tampa. Both drivers were well-known in the classic raceboat show circuit — especially Woodruff, a former North American champion-turned-owner in hydroplane-class boat racing, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The fatal collision came one day after another driver — Mark Van Winkle, 53, of Stuart — died after he was ejected from his raceboat and struck by a passing vessel. A passenger, Lorraine Moody of Lake Placid, also was ejected, but first-responders rescued her.

The deaths were the first in the regatta's six-year history. Known as the Spring Thunder Regatta, it was billed as the annual start to the boating season.

Traveling at speeds as fast as 80 miles an hour, drivers of the vintage racing boats were supposed to showcase their speed, not compete in races, according to the Classic Race Boat Association, which sponsored the regatta.

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