Speed may have been factor in Coosa River boat accident

Speed may have been factor in Coosa River boat accident

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Steve Tripp (Photo: Bobby D. Clayton) Steve Tripp (Photo: Bobby D. Clayton)
The accident happened near the River Run subdivision in Childersburg. Source: Vanessa Araiza/WBRC The accident happened near the River Run subdivision in Childersburg. Source: Vanessa Araiza/WBRC
TALLADEGA COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -

The search resumed Wednesday for a missing boater on the Coosa River. The boater, Steve Tripp, is a father of four from Chelsea who owns Revolution Performance Marine in Harpersville.

Captain Michael Patrick of the Alabama Marine Police said Tripp was test driving a power speed boat on Tuesday.

"We know that he had reached 142 [mph] yesterday morning and came back yesterday afternoon to try and increase that to over 150," Patrick said.

Patrick said Tripp was experienced at driving the powerful boats and competed in races across the country. Patrick said speed may have contributed to the accident.

"A boat at that speed is basically flying on the water. Literally flying on the water. If it gets air under it, it can flip," Patrick explained.

Search teams cruised up and down the Coosa River looking for Tripp's body on Wednesday. Patrick said the search has been hampered in part because they can't pinpoint the exact area of the accident. When the boat started to break up, it could have covered a couple of football fields.

A passenger who was with Tripp survived the crash and was treated at UAB Hospital for his injuries. Neither man was wearing a safety vest. Captain Patrick said that was critical.

"[For] the professionals that make a living on the water, right down to the recreational boater, that personal floatation device is a must," Patrick said.

Patrick said the Alabama Power Company is prepared to stop dumping water into the river which increases the current to help with the search.

The marine police captain said the search will continue until Tripp is found. If the search is called off Wednesday, it will resume Thursday morning at daybreak.

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