Dubai: A pall of gloom descended on the watersports fraternity here as the Victory 1 pairing of Mohammad Bin Majid Al Muhairi and Jean-Marc Sanchez were pronounced dead after being air-lifted to Rashid Hospital following an incident in the Emirates/Dubai Duty Free Class 1 Grand Prix here on Friday.
"We lost both our pilots in today's crash. Safety boats rushed to the site and attended to both of them, after which they were airlifted to hospital where the doctor pronounced them dead," Saeed Hareb, managing director, Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) and president of the World Professional Powerboat Association, told media.
The Victory 1 boat flipped after hitting a wave on the fifth lap and landed face down. It was travelling at around 180km/h. Rescue boats rushed to the scene and tried their best to pull the UAE driver and the French throttleman out.
Rescuers tried to resuscitate the pilots, but to no avail. Both were then air-lifted by helicopter to Rashid Hospital, where doctors examined them and pronounced them dead. "Both were part of our family and our deepest condolences to both their families," a choking Hareb said at the briefing.
Racing had taken off as usual despite the prevailing weather conditions. There was a little drizzle and gusts of winds off the Mina Seyahi waters.
At the time of the accident in the fifth lap, the world champion pairing of Arif Saif Al Zafein and Nader Bin Hindi in Fazza were clear leaders ahead of the Norwegian pairing of Kolbjorn O. Selmer and Jorn Tandberg on board Welmax, while Victory 1 was in third place.