Boat snaps and sinks at Richland Boat Race: "I took a hard hit and just saw water, then more water." - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Boat snaps and sinks at Richland Boat Race: "I took a hard hit and just saw water, then more water."

RICHLAND, Wash - It looked like a shark's fin rising slowly out of the water as Joe Turner's boat was lifted out of the Columbia River.  During the B-Main Heat of today's Unlimited Light races, Joe Turner's UL-18 had its right sponson snap off causing the boat to capsize and sink into the river.  Turner was able to release his seatbelt and open the capsule, luckily escaping unharmed.

It took crew workers about 45 minutes to retrieve the UL-18 from the river, as the B-Main heat was stopped in order for the other boats to refuel before re-running the race.  Water streamed out of the boat as tiny fragments of wood fell off of the right side of the boat.  It was as if someone had cut the boat in half and you were looking at a cross-section of the once-oldest boat in the Unlimited Light circuit.

"I took a hard hit and then I just saw water, and more water," says Turner, who was visibly shaken as he watched his boat being saved from the churning Columbia.  Other drivers continuously came up to Turner to hug him and tell him they were so thankful that he was ok.  "In my 22 years of racing this is the only wreck I've ever been in."

Turner's boat will have to be completely scrapped and if he wants to race again it's going to cost him about $100,000.  When asked if he would ever race again after this type of a crash, Turner replied, "I don't think Mrs. Turner will let me race again."  Laughter erupted from the surrounding crowd, as they stared at what remained of Turner's boat, with everyone undoubtedly wondering how in the world Joe was still standing there with them.

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