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|Death: ||Sep. 17, 2013|
Survivor of Kankakee regatta boat crash dies of heart attack 09/17/2013 10:20 AM
The man who survived one of the most horrific crashes in the history of Kankakee's annual Labor Day weekend boat races has died.
Daniel Schwartz, the racer who crashed on the Kankakee Country Club's 17th fairway in 2010, was felled by a heart attack as he was watching boat racing Sunday in California.
Schwartz, 60, was able to return to the boat racing pits as an official after nearly 18 months of rehabilitation. In September 2012, he returned to the country club to see where his SST 120 racing machine dropped — from 75 feet in the air — and plowed into the turf. He had no memory of the incident.
"He was one of the strongest men I have ever known," said fellow boat racer Tammy Wolf, of Clifton. She added that he was one of the officials at this year's event on the Kankakee River. He was part of the crew weighing the boats before technical inspections.
"For years and years, we could always count on Dan and his wife, Jean, to make the trip out from California," said Brad Kuntz, one of the regatta chairmen. "When I think about all he went through in his recovery process, it's just difficult to accept that he's gone."
On that day, Sept. 5, 2010, Schwartz was part of a three-boat incident at the east end of the race course. His boat shot into the bank, sending it skyward. It landed upside down on the course where rescue crews quickly extricated him amid dripping fuel.
Schwartz suffered massive head and neck injuries, as well as multiple leg fractures. He was airlifted to a Chicago medical center and later transferred to a rehabilitation facility closer to his home in San Leandro, Calif.
During a walk on the golf course last summer, Schwartz noted that he was happy to be back in Kankakee and thrilled to be working the pits. But that fairway meant nothing to him.
"Really, this is just a golf course to me," he said. "I've never really seen it before,"
— Dennis Yohnka
Created by: Dee Dee Egan-Strombeck
Record added: Oct 04, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 118183747
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