Thunderboat driver speaks out about scary crash - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Thunderboat driver speaks out about scary crash

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Last Friday, a boat crashed during a timing run during the San Diego Bayfair. Dominic Garcia spoke with the man at the helm of the hydroplane that flipped during the crash on Mission Bay. 

"I’m doing fine. A little stiff neck and cracked vertebra, but they'll heal up. I'll be just fine," says Kelly Stocklin.

Kelly had just modified his hydroplane to make it go faster, however, it may have worked a little too well as he hit speeds on Mission Bay of 170 mph before the crash.

"It gets very quiet because you’re not hitting water anymore. All you can do is just ride it out," says Kelly.

It's hard to believe someone can walk away from a boat collision at those speeds, but Kelly says the boats are safer than you'd think.

"Years ago, before we started the canopy evolution, there was no way a person could survive what I went through. And look at me now, I'm walking around, having lunch with my wife," says Kelly.

"Very few people get hurt. Very few people get killed," says Jim Kidrick.

Jim is on the Board of Governors for the San Diego Bay Fair and is credited to giving the event its name. He says during the races, safety crews are everywhere. As for conditions, the bay keeps waves low and wind to a minimum.

"Most people don’t know, but San Diego has a very natural beach line with 5-7 mile per hour breezes almost all the time," says Jim.

Jim says that Mission Bay is a world class track that's been hosting races like this for years.

"This is one of those legacy family festival sport competitions we want to see every year and we want to grow it," says Jim.

Jim believes that with passionate racers like Kelly involved, it will continue to grow every year. He says that there’s something about the speed of the races that makes them different from other racing events.

"When a boats running well, it’s the most beautiful thing to watch," says Kelly.

That said, Kelly's racing days in that class may be over, but he says no matter what, he's not leaving the sport.

"I'm in this sport to stay. I've been in it my whole life and I’m just going to keep going."

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