Graham Snook was photographing the Bénéteau Monte Carlo 42 in France when the accident happened

MBM photographer Graham Snook says he’s lucky to be alive after escaping with only cuts and bruises from a collision yesterday between two motorboats in the South of France.

Graham was on a photo boat shooting the Bénéteau Monte Carlo 42, when the Monte Carlo struck the back of the boat he was on at more than 30 knots.

The Monte Carlo rode up over the back of the photo boat, a Bénéteau Antares 9.80, missing Graham, who was standing in the cockpit, by a “matter of inches”.

Beneteau Monte Carlo 42

No one from MBM was on the Monte Carlo at the time of the accident, and Graham was the only IPC Media staffer involved.

No information is available as to who was driving the Monte Carlo, but Bénéteau has confirmed it was not one of its drivers. Nor is it believed that the boat was at fault, as it had performed seamlessly in seatrials up to that point. An investigation is currently underway into what happened.

“I had been shooting from the flybridge, but then decided to go down to the cockpit. I was taking photos on a long lens as the boat was coming right towards us,” Graham said.”I thought the driver was leaving it a bit late to turn, so turned away to shield myself from the spray, but when I glanced back I could see the boat was still coming towards us. Then there was just noise.

“Everything just moved and I think I fell to the floor. I could see water and bubbles in front of my eyes – I thought I was going to die. I was no more than a foot away from the Monte Carlo.”

The back of the photo boat was completely destroyed, and it started taking on water. The skipper acted quickly and drove to the nearest marina, where it was lifted out.

Graham Snook

Graham, meanwhile, was transferred to another Bénéteau boat and taken to Marseille, where he was taken by paramedics to hospital.

It was initially suspected that he had fractured a vertebrae, but x-rays and an MRI scan revealed no permanent damage. He was given “serious” painkillers and discharged at 9pm.

“I feel lucky to be alive. Everyone who’s seen the photo boat can’t believe that no one was seriously injured. It could have been frighteningly easy for someone to die – they wouldn’t have stood a chance,” Graham said.

“If I was standing in a different place, I probably wouldn’t be here.”

 

Top photo: The damage done to the photo boat

Middle photo: The Monte Carlo approaches at speed

Bottom photo: Graham following the accident