News 12 at 11 o'clock / Saturday, July 21, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It was a few scary seconds for one competitor at the Southern Nationals drag boat races after his boat flipped upside down right as he took off.
Kebin Kinsley has been racing his whole life. He was taken to the hospital to get checked out but had no major injuries. He says after a crash like this, he's just happy to be alive.
"I've dodged a lot of bullets, but this time here it happened so quick I couldn't react quick enough," he said.
Kinsley was racing his top-fuel hydro boat at the Southern Nationals when something went wrong.
"It was unbelievable how fast it all happened," he said. "I mean it left like a rocket and next thing I know [it just went] underwater and I'm like, 'What is this?' Then it flips over and does all this crazy stuff and then I'm stuck down at the bottom."
He was underwater for almost five minutes but to him, it felt more like an hour.
"It's dark and I can't see from here down and there's a lot of stuff running through your mind," he said. "It's amazing how everything goes into slow motion."
For drag boat racers, accidents like these are a part of the sport.
"The dangers in drag boat racing is high, there's no doubt about it," he said. "One year, we lost nine drivers and the next year we lost eight drivers."
These boats get up to 250 miles per hour. Kinsley was at probably a little over 100 when his boat went down.
"You hit so hard, you hope the boat will take a lot of the energy and slow the entry down into the water with the capsule and it won't be so hard on your body," he said.
In the top-fuel boats, the racers sit in a capsule. Inside the capsule, they have an oxygen tank and other safety measures in case an accident like Kinsley's happens. Those safety measures are what helped save his life today.
"It's your life, and it's pretty scary. I'll be honest with you, it was scary today," he said.
Now they will go back and check over what's left of the boat and analyze what went wrong. They say the smallest detail can completely change the way the boat operates. They will not be able to race tomorrow and probably not the next race but are hoping to be back soon.
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