Mark Sromalla was aboard a sailboat in San Diego Bay Dec. 20 with his boss and their wives, enjoying a fireworks display and preparing for the annual procession of boats decked out in holiday lights.
Then he saw a Coast Guard vessel heading toward his group's boat at a rapid rate of speed.
Sromalla, an oil products sales manager, worried that the patrol boat was going to hit their sailboat, but it moved aside at the last moment.
"The speed was incredible," he recalled in an interview with The Times.
Moments later, the 33-foot Coast Guard boat collided with a pleasure craft, killing an 8-year-old boy and leaving five people hurt.