22-year Sanford firefighter killed in powerboat racing collision in Jacksonville

Headline Surfer video / Above, a multimedia presentation tribute to Mike Salber, 56, a lieutenant with the Sanford Fire Department Tower unit killed Saturday in a powerboat racing crash Saturday in Jacksonville.
 
By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

SANFORD, Fla. -- A  22-year firefighter from Sanford was killed Saturday in a powerboat race in Jacksonville, authorities said.

The crash occurred at 1:50 p.m. on the third day of the P1 Jacksonville Grand Prix powerboat races, resulting in serious injuries to four of the participants, one of whom died shortly after transport.

Jacksonville Fire-Rescue took the injured to UF Health Jacksonville and it as there that Mike Salber, 56, a lieutenant with the Sanford Fire Department Tower unit, had succumbed to his injuries a short time later.

Officials on site said two boats crashed during the first turn near Memorial Park, with one of the boats flipping over the other. Both of the boats involved in the crash are Fl-based: One from Port St. Lucie and the one that overturned from Orlando, that was piloted by the firefighter. Reaching speeds of up to of 75 mph, the boats involved in the crash were named, Frank and Al's Pizza and Rapid Building Solutions, the latter with Salber aboard.

The Sanford Fire Department posted a statement on its Facebook page confirming Salber's death.

"It is with deep sadness and with a heavy heart that we inform you that Sanford Fire Department Tower Lieutenant Mike Salber has passed away this afternoon from injuries sustained during a boating accident," the statement read, adding, "Please keep Mike’s family in your thoughts and prayers."

"It is with deep sadness and with a heavy heart that we inform you that Sanford Fire Department Tower Lieutenant Mike Salber has passed away this afternoon from injuries sustained during a boating accident," the statement read, adding, "Please keep Mike’s family in your thoughts and prayers."

A spectator at the races told News 4 Jax, "The boat in the lead was shooting a lot of water off the backside of him and I was just looking at it hitting the front side of this boat and the next thing you know he just couldn’t see the wake in front of him and he just shot up in the air." The unidentified spectator added, "There are two boats that shot up in the air at the same time and that was it," said the witness.

 

 

 

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com for a decade now. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.