Jerry Bangs

Hydroplane Racer is Killed

Jerry Bangs
Jerry Bangs

Bangs, 42, Thrown in spin

Seattle, Aug. 7 [1977] (UPI) — Jerry Bangs, an unlimited-hydroplane driver, was killed today when he was tossed from his speeding boat as it spun during the $30,000 Seafair Trophy race, won by Bill Muncey aboard Atlas Van Lines.

Witnesses said the boat driven by Bangs, The Squire, was running third and attempting to move inside of the second-place craft when it spun out.

The 42-year-old Bangs, a prominent Seattle trial lawyer and father of four, was lifted from the water by a helicopter. Medics applied mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest massage on the way to a hospital, but Bangs never was revived.

After the mishap, Bangs's boat continued to run in slow circles on the course until someone was able to get aboard and turn off the engine. The accident happened during the fourth lap of the race's first heat.

Bangs was a world record holder and three-time national champion in the 5-liter limited class. He was named to boat racing's hall of fame in 1973

(From United Press International)

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Hydroplane Pilot Killed in Accident is Eulogized

Seattle, Aug. 8 [1977] (AP) — A group of friends gathered today at Lake Washington's hydroplane pit area in a memorial to Jerry Bangs, 42 years old, who was killed yesterday when his thunderboat cartwheeled and threw him into the water.

His widow, Anna Marie, and their four children attended the service, called by fellow race drivers not far from where Bangs's body was pulled from the water by a Coast Guard helicopter crew. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Harborview Medical Center moments later, from severe head injuries and a possible spine injury.

Bangs, a noted Seattle trial lawyer, was injured in previous accidents while driving his limited-inboard, but he came back to race again. "He did it because he loved it," said Bill Muncey, dean of thunderboat pilots, who won yesterday's Seafair Trophy Race.

(From the Associated Press)