Speedboat racer critically injured in crash at Marine Stadium

A speedboater was critically injured during a race at Marine Stadium Sunday morning when another driver collided with him at high speed, according to a race official.

The boaters were going about 120 miles per hour before heading into a turn where the crash happened around 10:30 a.m. on the last day of the Sprint Nationals Boat Races, said race director Ross Wallach.

Posted by Flatbottom Sprint BOAT Association on Monday, August 6, 2018

“All I can tell you is after they dropped the flag they went into the turn and the boat driven by another driver hit [him] in the turn,” Wallach said. “It wasn’t malicious or anything else.”

Paramedics took the racer to the hospital in critical condition, according to the Long Beach Fire Department.

Wallach said the injured driver is Greg Duff, a Newport Beach resident. He remained in the intensive-care unit Monday with a broken elbow, a crushed spleen and trauma to his head, according to Wallach.

“He’s very hurt,” Wallach said. “As of yesterday he survived the several operations they did to save his life.”

Duff is well-liked in the racing community, according to Wallach, who called him a “gentleman racer” who comes from a boating family.

Boat racing, like all racing, is dangerous, according to Wallach, but he said it’s been years since there’s been a serious crash like this at the Sprint Nationals.

“This is the first big one that we’ve had that really hits home,” he said.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children.