Coast Guard Key West Accident Investigations Still Open

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) investigations of two accidents that claimed three lives during 2011 Super Boat International Key West Offshore World Championships is continuing, according to Gary Tomasulo, the USCG deputy commander of the Key West Sector. The investigation began three months ago after racers Bob Morgan and Jeffrey Tillman were killed during the first race of the event on Nov. 9, and fellow racer Joey Gratton was killed during the event’s second race on Nov. 11.

Recoomended safety changes from the invesigation reportedly will be incorporated in the next offshore raciing permit for Key West.Recommended safety changes from the invesigation reportedly will be incorporated into the next offshore racing permit for Key West.

“I don’t have much to report at this point,” said Tomasulo. “The investigation continues. We don’t have an anticipated completion date, but it will definitely be complete before the next powerboat race and we plan on incorporating any lesson learned in safety improvement into the next marine permit we issue.”

Tomasulo said that the investigation was, if not a first for the U.S. Coast Guard in Key West, which shares jurisdictional investigation authority with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (that agency reportedly opted out of investigating the accidents), the first in many years.

“There has not been a death during a race here in a long, long time,” said Tomasulo. (The last death in Key West was in 1995.)

When the investigation is complete, the report it generates will be available to the general public through the Freedom of Information Act.

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Coast Guard Investigating Key West Offshore Race Accidents