Fabio Buzzi, 76, was killed near the finish line of the 1,300-mile course when the boat smashed into a manmade reef and launched through the air, the Times of London reported. The vessel’s reported speed ranged from 80 to 92 mph.
“The boat took off and flew 30 meters (almost 100 feet) through the air, landing on its stern on the other side of the causeway, where the victims died on impact,” an official at Venice’s port authority said, according to the paper.
Local firefighters said scuba divers found Buzzi’s body along with two others inside the cabin.
A Dutch mechanic, who has not yet been named, and Luca Nicolini, from Italy, were also killed, Italian Offshore and Endurance Committee President Giampaolo Montavoci told BBC News. He said earlier reports that two British pilots had died were incorrect.
The sole survivor, Mario Invernizzi, had been thrown off the boat. Montavoci said he was taken to a hospital, where he was giving authorities information on the accident.
Buzzi had apparently misjudged the entrance between two causeways and ran into a spit of boulders installed to protect the dam, which acts as a flood barrier for the Floating City, the outlet reported.
Buzzi, a 10-time world powerboat champion, had been racing for over 40 years. In 1978, he set the world speed record for diesel-powered boats, clocking 119 mph, according to the outlet.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.