Speedonthewater.com has confirmed that Garth Tagge and Jim Melley died in a boating accident during today’s Potomac River Radar Run in Fairview Beach, Va. The longtime shootout participants were running their Skater Powerboats 36-foot catamaran down the course in front of Tim’s II Restaurant and Crabhouse when the accident occurred.
In the middle of their second attempt down along the Potomac River—Tagge and Melley had recorded a 170-mph run earlier in the day, which was reportedly the top speed in the ninth annual event so far—their 36-foot cat flipped a couple of times and both participants were ejected. According to reports from several people on scene, rescue personnel attemped CPR on both Tagge and Melley to no avail.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Tagge and Melley families, as well as everyone in the boating community who called the consummate professionals and true gentlemen friends.
Less than two months ago, the duo ran their 2002 Skater 36 Classic up to 194 mph at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, which was good for the second-fastest run of the weekend. Powered by a pair of 1,500-plus-hp Smith Power engines that were upgraded recently by engine guru Carson Brummett, Tagge and Melley laid down a perfect pass on the second day of the Shootout.
The picture at right (click to enlarge) showing Tagge and Melley’s friendly faces was taken by Tristan Collins-Garvin at this year’s Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. May they rest in peace.