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One Bad Wreck

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Old 01-26-2004, 11:18 AM
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Unhappy One Bad Wreck

January 26, 2004, 8:33 AM EST

TAMPA -- A founder of the Bonefish Grill restaurant chain went missing after flipping his boat at high speeds.

Chris Parker, 37, was traveling at more than 100 mph in his 36-foot catamaran tunnel-hull racing boat when the front of the boat lifted out of the water, witnesses said.

The Spectre Powerboat, which is designed for offshore racing, ejected its three occupants when it flipped over backward, said Gary Morse, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Another boat stopped to pick up the two women, but Parker could not be found. The two passengers, whose identities were not released, were taken to Tampa General Hospital with minor injuries.

Rescue divers called off the search for Parker at about 6 p.m. Sunday, but friends and family continued to look for him through the night. Parker was not wearing a life vest, and the water temperature was 60 degrees.

Morse said authorities planned to continue searching Monday, but had little expectation of finding Parker alive.

Parker and Tim Curci opened the first Bonefish Grill in St. Petersburg in 2000. By the next year the partners sold a 50 percent stake to Outback Steakhouses Inc., and there are now more than 30 restaurants in 10 states.

Morse said excessive speed could have been a reason for the accident. ``If they're not turning too hard or not operating beyond the conditions of the vessel, the vessel is pretty seaworthy,'' Morse said. ``But these things have an awful lot of power and with the power they've got behind them, there is a potential for an accident.''

There is no speed limit in the part of the bay where the boat flipped over. Florida does not require boating licenses for people born before Sept. 30, 1980.

Copyright (c) 2004, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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Old 01-26-2004, 01:27 PM
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In case you missed it Wardley started a thread on this, there is a lot of info on it. I can't stop thinking about it, such a tragedy. It's times like this that makes me happy that we with are in a Black Thunder that maxes out at 70.
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