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Hydroplane accident kills man on Black Lake

A 32-year-old Buckley man was pronounced dead Saturday at Providence St. Peter Hospital after his hydroplane crashed on Black Lake during the 38th annual Black Lake Regatta, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

Race officials identified him as Ryan Butler.

The man’s super-modified hydroplane crashed violently about 12:45 p.m., during the second lap of the second heat, Sgt. Cheryl Stines said.

“Witnesses said he was going just fine and just crashed,” she said.

It took deputies already on the scene about 10 minutes to recover his body, which then was transferred to a boat launch where fire personnel were on hand. He later was transferred to the hospital and pronounced dead, she said.

The supermodified hydros have a top speed of 120 miles per hour, Stines said. The boat is still at the bottom of the lake, and racing continued after the incident, she said.

Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock said the cause of death won’t be known until Monday.

This is the area’s second hydroplane fatality this year, after a 56-year-old man died in April after his hydroplane flipped over on Lake Lawrence near Yelm.

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