Twenty first and twenty second powerboat fatalities

Funeral of French throttleman in St. Tropez



The funeral of French throttleman Jean-Marc Sanchez, who together with driver Mohammad Al Mehairi was fatally injured during the Dubai Grand Prix on December 11, took place in his home town of St.Tropez on Saturday (Dec 19). The funeral of Mohammad Al Mehairi was held shortly after the accident in keeping with local religious customs.

The pair were the 21st and 22nd offshore powerboat crew members to lose their lives in the sport since modern offshore racing began in 1961. Few of the recorded fatalities were caused by collisions with either competing boats or a non-involved spectator craft. Most resulted from high speed stability problems such as rollovers, nose-diving or backward somersaults following loss of aerodynamic control.

With the current high safety standards such as reinforced cockpit cells and toughened cockpit canopies offering protection should craft nosedive at speed the majority of fatalities have been due to deceleration. A sudden stop at speeds in excess of 100mph (160 kph) can place tremendous stress on the human body that seldom survives. Other risks are from drowning should a boat overturn but with compulsory breathing apparatus together with a strict cockpit cell escape procedure in force (swimming pool dunking practice and examination) there have been no recorded deaths as a result.

A full study on the cause of the Dubai accident is currently underway with a conclusive outcome yet to emerge.  



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