Former Formula One driver, 2004 American Le Mans Series champion and two-time Le Mans 24 hour winner JJ Lehto was injured in a boating accident in southern Finland early Friday morning, in a crash that resulted in the death of another person.
Lehto and the other person, whose name has not yet been released by the police, were driving a six-metre (20-foot) boat through the narrow Jomalvik canal that crosses the Tammisaari peninsula on the coast of Gulf of Finland, when the left side of the boat hit a bridge abutment.
The boat hit the bridge abutment just after 4 AM local time, caught fire and sank in the shallow water.
Lehto appears to have suffered from a possible concussion as he was reported to be very confused once the police arrived. He initially suggested that there were three people in the boat, but no one else was found, and subsequently a witness confirmed that there were only two occupants when it had left the dock.
The Jomalvik canal, which was completed in 1951, is some 400 metres (0.25 miles) long, and only some two metres (6.5') wide in many parts, with a depth of one metre (3.25'). Because of the narrowness, the speed limit in the canal is set at a very low 5 km/h.
However, based on the damage caused by the impact, the Finnish Coast Guard estimated that the speed of the boat may have exceeded 70 km/h. The police suspect that alcohol may have played a part in the accident.
Lehto, who has recently been working as a Formula One commentator for Finnish MTV television network, is now reported to be in stable condition in hospital.