TANGENT, Ore. - A jet boat crashed into a spectator area during a U.S. Sprint Boat Association race in Tangent, Ore., startling the crowd but causing no serious injuries.
Track announcer Bill Lundun said the driver of the two-person boat was heading into a 16-foot-wide channel Saturday when he clipped an island and went onto land at 50-60 mph.
Video shows the boat slamming into a fence that protects the crowd. Lundun said he knew the boat was going to hit the fence but didn't think it would go through.
"It was driver error completely," said Kyle Patrick, who built the course. "He just hit the side and he was going so fast, and we've never had a boat that fast go in to the fence."
One spectator suffered minor injuries and the boat's driver, Bud Florko, dislocated a few fingers. The boats are equipped with NASCAR-style safety gear, and drivers must wear helmets.
The course, billed as the world's largest of its kind, is visible from Interstate 5 in the Tangent area near Albany. Nearly 3,000 people were in attendance at Saturday's races.
There have been crashes at the course before.
"We go from zero to 90 in under three seconds," Patrick said. "We're pulling over seven Gs around curves. We're reaching top speeds of over 90 miles per hour."
But this was the first time a boat crossed the lawn and went through a fence in front of spectators.
"Unfortunately, it's just like Nascar," Patrick said. "You've got to have something happen so you can figure out what you've got to do to fix it."
The crash was caught on camera and you can hear the voices of people in the crowd - "Oh my gosh! He hit the curve! Oh my gosh! Everyone get out of the way!"
Linn County officials said they were made aware of the crash but since they did not receive any 9-1-1 calls about the incident, emergency personnel did not respond.