Hydroplane goes airborne during race heat on Detroit River

DETROIT (AP) A hydroplane racer escaped serious injury when his boat went airborne and flipped during a qualifying heat on the Detroit River.

Jean Theoret's U-96 Ellstrom Racing Unlimited Hydroplane was exiting a turn and traveling about 170 mph when it lifted from the river's surface on Sunday during qualifying at the UAW-GM Spirit of Detroit HydroFest.

The boat landed right-side up but suffered heavy damage.

The wind and rough river conditions contributed to his boat going airborne, Theoret told reporters after the crash.

''I got to the corner after the second buoy and the right sponson kicked up, probably the wind. We went over,'' he said. ''The cowling and rear wing are gone.

''The Lord's good. I hurt my right hand, but everything else is OK.''

Theoret is a former Gold Cup winner. He had the fastest qualifying time Saturday among the Unlimited Hydroplane's 12-boat field. He was leading his heat when his boat crashed and was trying to make Sunday's six-boat final.

Theoret said his boat ''probably'' could be fixed in time.

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