Mr. Cobb Killed on Loch Ness
Jet-Boat Smashed in Fastest Run
INVERNESS, SEPT. 29Mr. John Cobb, holder of the world's land speed record, lost his life on Loch Ness to-day while attempting to beat the water speed record. People watching from the shores of the loch saw his jet-propelled speedboat Crusader disintegrate during its first run along the measured mile.
Mr Cobb had taken the boat along the measured mile at a speed estimated by time-keepers at 206.8 m.p.h., about 30 m.p.h. faster than the existing record held by the American, Mr. Stanley Sayers [sic]. The silver and crimson boat was skimming along the surface and seemed to be bumping. Then it disappeared momentarily, and when the spray subsided only a few pieces of wreckage were to be seen on the surface.
A rescue vessel arrived and Mr. Cobb, who was wearing a life-jacket, was taken from the water. He died before he could be brought back to his headquarters at Temple Pier. His wife, who saw the accident, left Inverness by car for the south later in the afternoon.
At present it is not known what caused the accident. It is thought possible that the power developed by the jet engine was too much for the structure of the craft or that the floats may have struck a piece of driftwood. The loch rose two feet last week and the swollen rivers brought down much wood. A careful search had been made for driftwood at the week-end and the speed course was reported to be free from any such danger. It is believed more likely that the accident was caused by waves from the shore. Some observers said that the boat successfully crossed two waves, but that after striking the third it submerged and disintegrated when the water entered the air intakes of the jet engine.
Commander P. Du Cane, said afterwards of Mr. Cobb: "He must have been travelling at over 240 m.p.h. part of the time to have averaged 206 m.p.h. He hit three big waves.
(Reprinted from The Times September 30, 1952)
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