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Boat-test collision kills two

Two people are dead and three were injured after a boat trial by Sea-Doo manufacturer Bombardier Recreational Products resulted in a two-vessel crash at a southern Illinois lake when a crisscrossing maneuver went awry.

Two BRP employees and three employees from Milsco Manufacturing, a company that makes seats for the vessels, were also involved in the crash Tuesday morning on Rend Lake in Benton, Ill., according to a BRP release.

Larry Smithhart, who was employed at BRP’s Palm Bay, Fla., facility, was killed in the crash. His body was recovered Wednesday, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Teresa Camargo, who worked at BRP supplier Milsco Mexico, was also killed.

Another Milsco employee is hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, according to the BRP release. The other two involved received minor injuries and were not hospitalized.

“There’s not much more we can say at this time,” BRP spokeswoman Johanne Denault told Soundings.

“Of course, it’s still under investigation, but the best we can tell, both boats got up on plane, which means they were moving at a high rate of speed,” Jerry Hiller, a captain with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, told Soundings.

“One of the boats, for whatever reason — and unfortunately both occupants of that boat are deceased now — but the operator of one boat pulled right out in front of the other one, so basically the other boat ran over them,” Hiller said. “So in other words, they were criss-crossing, and one boat ran over the other one and killed both of them.”

Hiller was in transit between offices and didn’t have access to reports, but he believed the vessel carrying the two deceased occupants was a four-passenger Sea Doo.

The other vessel was a little bigger, “a basic recreational variety,” Hiller said.

Click here for a local news report on the accident by the Courier-Press.

— Reagan Haynes