A speedboat racer was killed and a companion in the cockpit was seriously injured off Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., on Sunday when their boat collided with another during the first lap of a noontime race.
David Raabe, the owner and throttler of the boat Repeat Offender, was killed when he was struck by a 26-foot boat piloted by the Smith Bros. Racing Team, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement Sunday night.
The prosecutor's investigation determined that Repeat Offender, "for an unknown reason," crossed directly into the path of the Smith Bros. vessel and was "at fault" in the collision, according to the statement.
The Smith boat rose out of the water, and its hull struck Raabe and the boat's driver, James Byrne of Nutley, N.J. Byrne was in critical condition Sunday at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, the Prosecutor's Office reported.
"It's a real tragedy what happened today," said Mayor Stephen D. Reid of Point Pleasant Beach. "He's a wonderful man, and it's really sad."
The collision took place about 12:55 p.m. on the first lap of a planned seven on a 4.5-mile course, law enforcement said.
Raabe was a husband and father who lived in Forked River, N.J., according to his Facebook page.
The Smith Bros. boat's transom in the rear was broken and the boat sank, Reid said. No one was injured in that boat, according to a team spokesperson.
Witnesses said the water was choppy when the crash occurred.
The race, now known as the Point Pleasant Beach Offshore Grand Prix, was a fixture in the Shore town under a variety of names in the 1970s and '80s.
About 40 boats were to participate in the weekend event. The collision happened during the first of two races scheduled for Sunday. The second was canceled.