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Original Issue

Collision Course

Rammed amidships and overrun by a 16-foot outboard at St. Petersburg, Fla., Guy Sutton (left) and his wife Carol are pinned against the sides of their runabout. The outboard stopped inches short of crushing Sutton's head, then slid back. The Suttons suffered only cuts and bruises.

The collision occurred during St. Pete's Funtime Outboard Treasure Hunt. More than 350 boats idled off Spa Beach awaiting a smoke-bomb signal before racing ashore where the treasure was buried. The bomb failed to explode properly, and the boats gunned off in the wrong direction. As the hunt's director waved them back, Sutton, in the lead, throttled down, confused. At that instant, John Bowman, 14, with twin 35-hp motors roaring aft, plowed into him. Young Bowman claimed that he couldn't see over his boat's high bow. Those who organized the disorderly stampede to near disaster obviously couldn't see very far ahead either.