The 6000 hp turbine powered 50' Miss Geico caught fire Saturday afternoon during test runs off of Lido Key in Sarasota Fl in preparation for the Sunday Suncoast offshore Powerboat race.
There were no serious injuries, and both throttleman Scotty Begovich (below left) and driver Marc Granet were quickly recovered from the water by local boaters. The boat appears to be a complete loss, and was towed in to the 10th street boat ramp.
According to other reports, Suncoast Offshore Super Boat Grand Prix spokesman Roderick Cox said that the preliminary indications was the fire was cause by electrical problems, but there would be an investigation. Local aviation expert George Flavell also postulated that a large bird being ingested into the turbine, a fuel line leak, or attempting a "Hot Start" of a turbine could also cause a fire. The Miss Geico boat had a hot start fire in 2010, and the fire was quickly extinguished with only minor damage to the vessel. Miss Geico was powered by twin t-55 Lycoming turbines (now manufactured by Honeywell), and had a 500 gallon Jet-A fuel capacity. According to a Geico team member there are only about five of these turbine powered racing vessels world wide.
The Photo of Miss Geico was taken by RJ Bott and forwarded to me by Jim Henderson with the assistance of captain Ralph Robinson.
Here is the link to a video of the launch, and departure of Miss Geico just prior to the accident.