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Lake Simcoe Poker Run Accident

Old 07-23-2003, 11:41 AM
Wild Horses
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Post Lake Simcoe Poker Run Accident

Not sure if this has been posted or not, but at last weekends Lake Simcoe poker run there was a major accident involving one of the faster boats. I was out of town so maybe some of the other more knowledgeable OSO’ers can fill in the details. Rumors are abounding as to what happened but is seems the waters were very rough at the time (up to 10’) and the cat was broadsided and flipped.

See the enclosed story. I hope everyone is all right. I run in the same area as these guys and know how bad Simcoe can get.


Poker run cancelled after accident

Three sent to Sunnybrook Hospital with serious injuries

Toby Gorman

Monday, July 21, 2003 - 08:00

Local News - The beginning of the annual Centre of Power Poker Run started innocently enough. Early Saturday morning crowds drank coffee, rubbed the sleep from their eyes and wandered the Port of Orillia under fair skies checking out some of the 44 offshore performance boats as they prepared for the rally.

By 9 a.m., after the customary driver’s meeting, more than 35,000 horsepower roared to life as the boats began their parade to The Atherley Narrows where two waves of the high-performance vessels would depart just minutes apart.

With crowds of onlookers positioned high onThe Narrows Bridge, along both banks of the channel and lining the course in their recreational boats, the race vessels powered up, sending rooster tails 15 metres into the air and took off south into the heart of Lake Simcoe.

What lay in the heart of Lake Simcoe, however, was anything but welcoming for the 200 rally participants.

“The swells in the lake grew to about 10 feet,” said event organizer Doug Bunker. “I’ve never seen anything like it in the last 16 years.”

The boats struggled through the swells at moderate speeds, unable to open up the throttles, and made it to Pefferlaw, the first checkpoint.

It was as the participants were approaching Lagoon City for the designated lunch stop that the event turned dangerous.

United Nations, a well-known 37-foot catamaran painted with Canadian and American flags draped across its stern and the flagship for Double R Performance, apparently caught a wave broadside while decelerating below 100 kilometres per hour to enter Lagoon City and spiraled, launching all five crew members into the water.

“We’re not sure exactly what happened at this point but we know the boat seemed to be running smoothly before the accident,” said Bunker. “All five crew members were rescued from the lake and all were wearing their life jackets.”

At least one crew member was unconscious when pulled from the water and all five were evacuated to two different hospitals. Three men were taken to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto with serious but non-life-threatening injuries while the other two, one a woman, were treated for minor injuries and shock at Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital. Hypothermia was also a concern for rescuers who were on the scene within minutes.

The identity of the crew members was not released by press time.

The rally continued on but was later stopped by organizers before it was completed.

“We took the approach that in any other event if one participant crashes or goes down you don’t call off the event right away,” said Bunker. “But everybody was very concerned about the crew–it’s a fairly close knit group who participates–and with the lake the way it was we decided it would be best to stop the event.”

It is the first time since the event’s inception that the rally has been stopped before its completion.

“It was a real eye opener. We’ve run this event without any troubles at all for the last 16 years and we are known as one of the safest poker runs around,” added Bunker. “We’ve got off scott-free incident-wise but now it’s time to re-assess the safety equipment in place and safety systems that we have so we can improve them.”

As of Sunday evening just two of the crew were still in hospital. Centre of Power organizers and rescue crews, including OPP and firefighters, will meet Tuesday night to discuss further safety measures.

Todd Franklin and his crew on a 42-foot Fountain called Dealing with the Devil won the abbreviated event.
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Old 07-23-2003, 12:05 PM
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This sounds like a bad deal, and I hope everyone is OK! This reporter did not sound like he was bashing anybody like most do.
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Old 07-23-2003, 12:08 PM
Wild Horses
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I believe United Nations is a Skater running twin 900sc merc's. I am sure someone will correct me the more accurate details. The boat is one of the faster vessels on the lake..... if not the fastest.
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Old 07-23-2003, 12:37 PM
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37 Talon. I had heard (but cannot say for sure) that it just had BIG power installed right before the event.

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