Fla. paramedic dies in powerboat race crash

Mike Salber, a 22-year veteran of the Sanford Fire Department, died after a collision involving a second powerboat that also injured three others

By Teresa Stepzinski
The Florida Times-Union

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The driver of a racing powerboat has died following a collision involving a second powerboat Saturday that also injured three other racers on the St. Johns River during the Jacksonville Grand Prix of the Sea early Saturday afternoon

Mike Salber, 56, died in the crash offshore of Memorial Park involving the Rapid Building Solutions and Frank & Al's Pizza powerboats during the race, which is part of the Powerboat P1 SuperStock USA Series.

"Our thoughts are with Mike's family, friends, colleagues and the powerboat racing community as a whole at this difficult time," said Powerboat P1 SuperStock USA officials on its website Sunday.

Salber was identified as the driver of the Rapid Building Solutions racing power boat, according to the Powerboat P1 website. His son, Zane Salber, 22, was listed as the boat's navigator.

Authorities haven't released the names of the injured racers. All were taken to UF Health Jacksonville following the collision. Information wasn't available whether the younger Salber was among the injured.

Mike Salber served as a lieutenant/ paramedic with the Sanford Fire Department, where he was a 22-year veteran. Fellow firefighters along with friends and many in the powerboat racing community mourned Salber — offering condolences to his family — in public Facebook posts.

"It is with deep sadness and with a heavy heart that we inform you that Sanford Fire Department Tower Lieutenant Mike Salber has passed away this afternoon from injuries sustained during a boating accident. Please keep Mike's family in your thoughts and prayers," Sanford fire officials posted on the department's Facebook page.

Public social media posts show Salber was an avid powerboat racer and water sport enthusiast.

"He died doing what he loved...racing. I have never met anyone that had such a hunger for life. ... Michael Joseph Salber was one of a kind. He was larger than Life," one post read.

Witnesses told the Times-Union the two power boats collided in the first turn during the third race Saturday.

Azam Rangoonwala, managing director of Powerboat P1, said the Rapid Building boat turned over and collided with the Frank and Al's Pizza boat. The Rapid Building boat is from Orlando, while the Frank & Al's Pizza boat is from Port St. Luice, he said.

The accident remains under investigation.

Copyright 2018 The Florida Times-Union

Posted by Sanford Fire Department on Tuesday, June 5, 2018
4 Injured, 1 dead in Florida P1 Powerboat Race

Sad day in the world of P1 Powerboat Racing.. Sanford Fire Department Tower Lieutenant Mike Salber has passed away this afternoon from injuries sustained when 2 race boats collided at a Florida race. R.I.P. Lieutenant Mike; Thank you for your years of service and bravery. #hammerdowninHeaven https://www.news4jax.com/news/breaking-jfrd-responding-to-overturned-boat-near-memorial-park

Posted by Hammer Down Boating on Saturday, June 2, 2018


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