Point Boat Race Turns Fatal

The “Repeat Offender” on its way into the first turn of the race, photographed here just seconds before the fatal collision. (Photo courtesy Ray Chiste)

POINT PLEASANT BEACH – Police are still investigating the fatal boat collision that took place during the Point Pleasant Beach Offshore Grand Prix.

According to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, the two vehicles were racing when one boat crossed directly in front of the other on the afternoon of May 21.

During the first turn, the vessel “Repeat Offender,” operated by James Byrne of Nutley and David Raabe of Forked River, pulled in front of the other vessel “Smith Brothers,” operated by Peter Smith of Riverton, N.J., and Richard Smith of Souderton, P.A.

As a result, Raabe, 38, and Byrne, 35, sustained serious injuries. Raabe was pronounced dead shortly thereafter, and Byrne was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where he was placed in critical condition. Both were wearing helmets at the time of the crash.

The Smith brothers, aged 53 and 50, were ejected from their boat, which sank. They refused medical attention. However, they were transported to Ocean Care Center for blood testing.

Detective Michael Proto of the O.C. Prosecutor’s Office is leading the investigation. The O.C. Sheriff’s Department, Point Pleasant Beach Police, and the U.S. Coast Guard also responded.