A horrific accident occurred near La Paz, Mexico late last month that could have been avoided by the use of a couple of simple pieces of plastic: an outboard kill switch key on a lanyard.
According to witnesses, the operator of a large dinghy with powerful engines — assumed to be 30-40 hp — was thrown from his boat while speeding through the La Paz anchorage. Because he was not wearing a kill key lanyard, his dinghy continued to roar around the area at high speed.
Seeing the mishap, La Paz-based cruiser John Spicher of the 31-ft sloop Time Piece reportedly jumped in his dinghy and retrieved the ejected driver from the bay. They were headed to shore when the wayward dinghy glanced off an anchored boat and turned straight for Spicher’s boat, running over the top of him. The deadly prop badly mangled his leg and both he and the rescued man were thrown overboard.
As Spicher attempted to climb back aboard he was struck again by the unmanned craft. This time it pinned him beneath it. The two men were rescued by a Mexican captain who administered first aid to Spicher’s leg. Although we don’t yet have all the details, Spicher was reportedly medevaced to the UC San Diego trauma center that same afternoon.
Needless to say, the whole bloody incident could have been avoided if the dinghy driver had been traveling at a more reasonable speed — and even more importantly, had been wearing a simple plastic kill switch lanyard around his wrist. If you don’t have one, get one.
We’ll bring you updates on Spicher’s recovery when they become available. In the meantime, we all wish him the best of luck with his recovery.