Sea World Boating Accident Coverage 17 August 1996
This is an CNN News Report from their website

Ski boat slams into Sea World crowd, injuring 22

August 17, 1996
Web posted at: 11:10 p.m. EDT

AURORA, Ohio (CNN) -- A high-speed boat careened into a a water ski show crowd at Sea World of Ohio Saturday evening, injuring at least 22 spectators, some critically.

Blue tarp

The accident happened about 6 p.m. EDT, shortly after the Baywatch water ski show, named after the popular television series, began before a crowd of 4,000 spectators.

The show includes a simulated rescue scene where an actor jumps from the boat as it skips across the water in front of the crowd.

According to a Sea World spokeswoman, the boat "collided with the stadium."

Sea World spokesman Ted Molter said the injured ranged in age from 2 to 78. Five were given medical attention at the scene, and 17 were taken to area hospitals, where at least four were listed in critical condition.

Molter said most of the injured were treated for bumps and bruises.

Barry Benoit of Cortland, Ohio, who was sitting about 10 rows back from where the craft hit, said, "Everyone thought the boat would just continue on. But then it went right up, maybe three or four rows deep. It hit a lot of people and you could hear the thud as it went into the grandstands."

"All around, everyone just stood up and was looking at this and kind of gawking and wandering if this could be part of the show," Benoit said.

A man on board jumped out of the boat as it crashed. He was not injured. Other actors in the show ran into the stands, lifted the boat up and helped rescue people caught under it.

"The women were screaming and the men started running down to help," Kerri Tykare of Cortland said.

Sea World of Ohio is operated by the Busch Entertainment Division of Anheuser-Busch Inc. of St. Louis, and is located about 20 miles southeast of Cleveland.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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