Powerboats: 2 racers die at event in Australia
TAREE, Australia — Veteran American powerboat racer David Bryant was killed in an accident during a race in Australia, one of two competitors to die during the weekend event on the Manning River in northern New South Wales state.
Police identified the 44-year-old Bryant of Mesa, Ariz., on Sunday. A statement from the New South Wales police media unit said the American was ejected from his craft as it traveled at a speed of about 135 mph.
Police said emergency services attended to Bryant at the scene and he was taken to Manning Base Hospital, where he died a short time later.
On Saturday, 61-year-old Australian Brian McCosker was racing against fellow competitors around a circuit on the same river when his boat flipped.
Bryant is listed in his biography as having competed in powerboat racing for 15 years. He won the U.S. Super Stock Racing Association Series championship in 2002, 2006 and 2007 and won titles in various flatbottom championships.
He was the 2007 American Boat Racing Association unlimited hydroplane rookie of the year.
The Australian event was an annual Easter weekend of racing sponsored by the Taree Power Boat Club. Calls to the secretary of the club by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.
Police said the powerboat named "Liberty" was at the western end of the circuit Saturday when it flipped and landed upside down in the water. Divers on the course went to McCosker's aid, finding him face down in the water seconds later. They retrieved him from the water but he was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
Glenn Banks, president of the Australian Power Boat Association, told the Seven television network that he had never heard of a double tragedy in the 60-year history of the event.
"We've had tragedies before, we've had fatalities before, but never have we lost two of the best competitors in one weekend," he said.
Inspector Ben Atkinson from the Taree police said both men were experienced at the sport, and it is unclear what went wrong.
"It's been a tragic Easter for these people," Atkinson said. "It's a tight-knit community, the boat racing community, and our condolences go out to them."