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Race Boat Loses Control, Goes into Crowd

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TANGENT, Ore. — It was a frightening moment for spectators at a boat race in Tangent this weekend, when a boat lost control and went straight towards the crowd.

Fans packed around the Field of Dreams on Saturday to watch USSBA Sprint Boat Racing. What they did not expect to see was a jet boat heading straight towards them.

One witness, Mandi Schwendiman, says a Canadian driver lost control after bumping over an island, and went skidding over the grass towards the VIP section and the pit area.

The Halsey-Shedd Rural Fire Department was on scene and says there were no major injuries. The department says one boy cut his hand, but the injury was minor.

Jason Mier, a boat fan who was not present at the race this weekend, says he loves the races. Despite the crash, Mier says he still feels the sprint boat racing events are safe.

“There’s a huge chain link fence all the way around,” said Mier. “You’re not allowed to even get close to the water. And there are only certain areas you’re allowed to sit. And any un-fenced area is sectioned off unless you’re a part of the pit crew.”

Mier says most fans sit behind the fences, and there would be plenty of time to move.

“You’re just sitting in a fold-out chair,” Mier said. “You can jump up and move as long as you’re paying attention. It’d be hard not to hear them; they’re kind of loud.”

Mier says crashes like the one this weekend are rare, and he feels safe in the crowd. He says it’s not going to stop him from taking his kids to other sprint boat races.

“We definitely enjoy going. It’s a lot of fun to go to. The kids have a good time,” Mier said.

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