7-year-old dead after race boat incident at Thunder on the Narrows in Kent Island

The annual Thunder on the Narrows boat race ended in tragedy Sunday in the Chesapeake Bay.

"There was just a lot of yelling and screaming,” said Chaya Janarhan.  “No one really knew until the rescue guys came in."

A 7-year-old girl is dead and seven others are hurt after a racing boat lost control and crashed into a group of spectators watching on the water near Kent Island.  

Officials say it was one of the last races of the day during Thunder on the Narrows off Kent Island.

"This is the largest class stock hydroplane we run in the association,” Kent Narrows Racing Association President, Wheeler Baker, said.  “Got about a 480 inch engine, speeds 125 plus, boats are 22 to 25 feet long."

According to witnesses, around 5 p.m. Sunday the event suddenly turned chaotic.

"Seemed like the last one out there lost his steering and went right into the spectator boats over there, and then they stopped the race, shot off a couple of flares and stopped the race," Michael Milstead said.

"They were about 100 feet away from us so we heard a scream and then saw the driver opening up his little cockpit getting out," said Janardhan.

"I saw one person pulled out quickly, rushed up here, the second person we saw an oxygen mask put on them and they were quickly pulled out of the area," James Sloena said.

Coast Guard officials tell us the operator of one of the racing hydroplane boats lost control and crashed into a crowd of onlookers watching from 4 spectator boats along the course.

"There was 5-6 rescue boats that came out, they were pulling people out of the water, rushing them off to the shore," Janardhan said.

"The rescue boats were immediately there and there were divers in the water immediately," said Sloena.

Thunder on the Narrows has been held off Kent Island for the last 25 years, and this is the first collision during the races.   The U.S. Coast Guard is taking the lead on the investigation into this unfortunate accident.

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