KISSIMMEE – A man who was critically injured while testing race boat on Lake Conlin has died.
Jene Mallory Whitaker, 42, died at 11:34 p.m. Wednesday of head and spinal injuries suffered in a 9:14 a.m. accident in east Osceola County, said Joe Brown, Orlando Regional Medical Center spokesman. He also suffered a broken leg and fractured ribs after being thrown into the water. Whitaker was wearing safety equipment helmet, neck brace and high speed impact life jacket.
Whitaker, an experienced boat and car racer from Lake Placid in Highlands County, was testing an experimental boat across the lake, also known as Lake X, when the wind lifted his 18-foot tunnel hull and overturned it, the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission said.
Lake X Rescue Team restored Whitaker’s pulse and breathing, officials said before he was air lifted & taken to Orlando hospital, where he was unconscious and hooked to a ventilator.
Lake X is so named because it’s used for secret testing of boats and engines by Mercury Marine, a Wisconsin company with a plant in St. Cloud. Whitaker was a customer/dealer for Mercury Marine a Mercury Marine spokesman said.