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Lake Travis Boat Accident

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Old 06-13-2007, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Turbojack View Post
II forgot the other hero is the young girl that just became I believe a Texas Park and Wildlife officer to go and jump on Ricks boat while it was moving to shut it down.
It was a man, baby!

The woman officer arrived in the first boat and was alone. Kind of hard to jump to another vessel under power when you're by yourself.


Quote:
Originally Posted by m1super90
How about a copy of that video for Rick?
I haven't forgotten, it's been a busy week and I still haven't found my USB cable for the camera. I'll try and have it by weeks end.
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Old 06-13-2007, 02:48 PM
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Yes I bought it last year and sold it this year to upgrade, Rick told me a little about his legal battle with the guy, I dont know a hole lot about it, he said it was a long mess. tell him I said hello, and there is a bunch of us thinking about him in Tulsa, he's a super guy.
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Old 06-13-2007, 03:29 PM
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I haven't forgotten, it's been a busy week and I still haven't found my USB cable for the camera. I'll try and have it by weeks end.
Appreciate it. Just got off the phone with Rick and he's interested in seeing it. He's writing the obituary now and it's really tough. I think he can use anything at all to help distract him from the pain.

Also, I need to get Randy Myers contact info. Rick wants to give him a big thanks for all he and his crew did.
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Old 06-13-2007, 06:41 PM
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condolences to the family
but
I wouldn't go out on a rough day in a boat built like that
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Old 06-13-2007, 07:21 PM
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condolences to the family
but
I wouldn't go out on a rough day in a boat built like that


?????????????????????
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Old 06-13-2007, 07:35 PM
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many prayers sooo sorry to hear this .........
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Old 06-14-2007, 10:33 AM
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I think this event is finally winding down. God must have wanted me to help Rick because I just happened to take this entire week off of work and have had the freedom to do a lot for him. I'm really looking forward to some down time hanging at his place and reliving the good old days. In that light, I'm providing my opinion of the events as best as I can piece things together, and step somewhat out of the limelight.

On June 9th, 2007 our youngest lakerat passed away doing what she loved most, zipping along Lake Travis with her father.

Their boat stuck an unusually large wake and broke up, flinging both of them out. Rick Smith suffered only a broken femur but little Caroline went through a side window and suffered fatal head injuries. In the moments that followed, Rick struggled to push his unconscious daughter out of the path of his unmanned boat which began to circle them. Randy Myers heroically entered the marauding boat's circle with his 35' Fountain to effect rescue; his passengers jumping into the water to pull Rick and Caroline aboard. Meanwhile, a game warden chased down and paralleled Rick's boat allowing one to jump aboard and shut it down. Rick and Caroline were transported to Brackenridge Hospital. Caroline could not be resuscitated.

The entire boating community, from wakeboarders to cruisers to cigarette boats, is stunned and saddened. A tremendous outpouring of support for Rick has emerged. Friends he didn't know he had are pitching in by showing support. I can't express well enough how much this has meant to him, nor how much it has helped him begin to cope with his loss.

Sitting with him for 10 hours in the hospital listening, speaking to the investigators and witnesses, and inspecting the boat, I have my opinion on what happened.

Facts:

The boat hit a large wake at 40MPH at a slight angle. Coming off the wake airborne, the port stern made contact with the water first. The motion slapped the bow of the boat into the face of the next wake causing the boat to lurch to starboard, splitting the hull in two, and throwing both occupants out the port side. Caroline struck the left window on her way out, causing her head injury.

Theory:

The hull was weak at the seam. Possibly as a result of age, the impact it received from a collision two weeks prior, or both. The pounding our boats normally take on Lake Travis caused his to grow gradually weaker. Finally, hydraulic pressures typically sustainable were beyond what Rick's boat could take and it broke apart. When the top half of the stern separated from the bottom half, rigidity was lost, causing the massive flexing that cracked the hull along the transom and popping out chunks of gelcoat.

Conclusion:

Neither speed or alcohol were a factor. While the boat should have tolerated the forces involved in hitting the second wake, Rick and Caroline would have been ejected in the same manner, regardless. The cause of Caroline's death is rooted in the unusual culmination of wake separation, angle of attack, and time airborne. All came together to create a situation without an exit.

(image) Rick and Caroline
(image) Caroline's favorite toy

Last edited by m1super90; 06-14-2007 at 03:41 PM. Reason: Spoke to the investigator and had another look at the boat today
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Old 06-14-2007, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m1super90 View Post
Facts:
The boat hit a large wake at 40MPH at a slight angle. At that moment there was a loud popping sound from the stern. The boat then pitched violently to the right, throwing father and daughter out to the left. Caroline struck the left window on her way out, causing her head injury.

Theory:
The hull was weak at the seam. Possibly as a result of age, the impact it received from a collision two weeks prior, or both. The pounding our boats normally take on Lake Travis caused his to grow gradually weaker. Finally, hydraulic pressures typically sustainable were beyond what Rick's boat could take and it broke apart. When the top half of the stern separated from the bottom half, rigidity was lost. With engine power applied from the rear, and braking force applied at the bow, the hull flexed in such a way so-as to cause it to veer suddenly to the right.

Conclusion:
Neither speed or alcohol were a factor. The boat should have tolerated the forces involved in breeching that wake, as it had done so many times before. The cause of Caroline's death is rooted in the unreasonable structural failure of the boat.
First of all, my condolences to Rick and his family and friends to the loss of his daughter. As a father of a 13 year old, I can only imagine the pain he is going through right now.

Looking at the pictures of the boat and reading Rick's account of the accident, I would conclude both occupents would have been thrown from the boat regardless if the boat sustained damage or not from the impact. The boat pitched over as a reaction to the imapct to the wave. I've experienced this firsthand as well as a good friend of mine who was ejected from his 33' Outlaw a few years back at LOTO after experiencing a similar accident. His boat sustained no damage and remained intact. The running surface of Rick's boat is intact. The boat as a whole pitched over throwing both occupents out. The hull/deck separation and the delamination of the hull side are results of the impact. They themselves did not cause the boat to whip over in such a way as to eject its occupants. I would think investigators will come to the same conclusion. Bottom line is it was a tragic accident, but not a result of the damage sustained by the boat.
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Old 06-14-2007, 11:19 AM
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I've edited my previous post based on another look at Rick's boat today, and I happend to run into the investigating game warden.

Last edited by m1super90; 06-14-2007 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 06-14-2007, 02:05 PM
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As a father...this is a hard thread to read. Very heart wrenching. Thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends involve.
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