Wednesday, March 4th4.1°C

Crash on Okanagan Lake


The captain of the boat has contacted Castanet to clear up some of the details.

According to boat captain Mike McLellan, he was testing a new set of injectors on his Formula One tunnel boat at the time of the crash. His racing season ended two weeks ago.

He was driving around 80 kmh when a section of the hull failed, causing his vessel to hook sharply in the water and partially sink.

"We're trained to get out in a particular way and I was just waiting for the cockpit to fill up because I knew it was going to and that just made it easy," he said.

"I undid my harness and waited for the cockpit to fill up with water and just floated there. The rescue guys were there in 30 seconds."

There were some private vessels out in the water at the same time, but McLellan said he was being spotted by his team on a commercial diving boat who got him a rope and brought him to shore.

He did not swim to shore as was previously reported.

McLellan said he is one of three Canadians racing these boats at his level in North America.

The racing season finished up two weeks ago in Seattle at an invitation-only race for the 15 fastest racers on the continent. He placed ninth in that event.

He said the boat has a top end speed of over 220 kmh, but at the time of the incident was going around 80 kmh.

The captain of a high performance speed boat is safe after flipping his vessel on Okanagan Lake Friday evening.

Around 7:30 p.m. Friday emergency crews were called for a marine rescue, a boat had apparently flipped on Okanagan Lake near City Park.

Shortly afterwards the captain of the boat apparently swam to shore while civilian boaters attempted to tow his boat to shore. He was the only person on board.

The man sustained no injuries according to Sgt Brad Swecera with the Kelowna RCMP. His boat, however did not fare so well and has been loaded onto a trailer at the Kelowna yacht club. 

The captain apparently races the boat and has training and safety gear on board many vessels do not. According to RCMP he was in an enclosed cabin and used a breathing apparatus to escape the capsized vessel.

Kelowna RCMP said there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing and that the man was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he was questioned.

Swecera said they may forward their report to Transport Canada as a normal procedure in a marine accident.


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