Sea World Boating Accident Coverage 20 August 1996
This is an AP News Report from the 20 August 1996 Daily O'Collegian

Sea World boat crash caused by engine failure, investigators say

AURORA, Ohio (AP) - A power boat that vaulted into the grandstand at Sea world of Ohio, injuring 23 people, was missing a crucial part of its steering system, investigators said Monday.

Videotape of Saturday's accident showed the operator turning the steering wheel, but the 18 foot boat stayed on a straight course toward shore, where it plowed five rows deep into the crowded grandstand on Geauga Lake.

The jet-drive boat had lost part of its steering system sometime after the water-skiing performance began, the Ohio Division of Watercraft said.

Jet-drive boats produce thrust by pumping a stream of water at high speed. The boat used Saturday lost part of a plate that steers the boat by controlling the direction of that stream of water, the agency said.

"There was no steering control because of that," said division spokesman Dennis Evans.

Ohio does not require a state inspection of boats used in such shows. Sea World shut down the ski shows at all four of its parks - Aurora, San Diego, San Antonio, and Orlando, Fla.- pending a safety review.

The boat was owned by World Entertainment Services Inc. of Winter Park, Fla, which also provides performers and mechanics for TV's "Baywatch" and is responsible for maintaining the equipment, Sea World said.

World Entertainment said only that it is cooperating with investigators.

Four of the injured remain hospitalized, one in critical condition. The operator of the boat was not hurt.

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