Washington, DC Hydroplane Disaster, June 1966

Ron Musson.jpg Ron Musson racing boat.jpg Ron Musson accident.jpg Rex Manchester hydroplane racer.jpg Rex Manchester accident.jpg Rex Manchester wrecked boat.jpg Don Wilson hydroplane racer.jpg


Washington (AP) -- Three speedboat racers were killed Sunday in high speed accidents at the President's Cup Regatta on the Potomac River.
The first to die was RON MUSSON of Seattle, one of speedboat racing's great drivers. He was killed when his radically designed hydroplane disintegrated as it was doing about 160 miles an hour.
Later, two other speedboats collided during a race and REX MANCHESTER of Seattle and DON WILSON of Palm Beach, Fla., were killed.
A spokesman at George Washington University Hospital said WILSON was dead on arrival, but an emergency team worked several minutes over MANCHESTER before he was pronounced dead.
Witnesses said MANCHESTER'S boat, Notre Dame, became airborne on the back stretch of the first lap of the final heat, came down and exploded in the water.
The explosion occurred as he was alongside WILSON in Miss Budweiser.
MUSSON, who was 37, had just completed the first lap of an elimination heat when his yellow and green boat took off from the water, flew upwards and then crashed down, nose first.
The boat exploded in front of the judges' stand in a ball of spray and small pieces. The accident occurred in near ideal racing conditions.
MUSSON'S body was rushed to shore where for 10 minutes Dr. Claude Burpee of Tampa, Fla., and aides from the Red Cross tried to revive him. Efforts
included mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and heart massage.
Dr. Herbert P. Ramsey of Washington, the medical adviser for the Red Cross nurses on the scene, said, "There was no pulse no heartbeat that I could feel. I could find no sign of life."
MUSSON was officially declared dead shortly after arrival at George Washington University Hospital in Washington.
The boat the Miss Bardahl was of a new design. In an older Miss Bardahl, MUSSON was national champion for the last three years.
MUSSON is survived by his widow BETTY LOU and three children.
Raymond F. Whitehair a hospital administrator said it could not be determined immediately whether MUSSON was killed by injury received in the wreck or by drowning. He added that he probably was dead on arrival at the hospital.

Frederick News Post Maryland 1966-06-20