(CNN)Three people have been killed during an attempt to break a high-speed power boat record in Italy.
The accident, in which the boat crashed into an artificial dam, happened near the finish line at the Lido di Venezia on Tuesday night.
Fabio Buzzi, a 76-year-old Italian businessman and power boat world champion, was among the dead. He was leading the team's attempt to set a record time in the adrenaline-fueled trip from Monaco to Venice.
Italian Luca Nicolini and Dutch pilot Eric Hoorn also died in the crash, according to Rai, Italy's national broadcaster. A fourth man, Italian Mario Invernizzi, survived with injuries.
Buzzi was attempting to break his Monte Carlo to Lido di Venezia record. On Tuesday, he and his crew left Monte Carlo at 3 a.m. local time and were expected to arrive in the Lido at 9 p.m. Buzzi had traveled the same route in the past but had always arrived in daylight hours.
The vessel was nearly at the finishing line when it hit the Punta Sabbioni spit, built to protect the city's "Mose" flood barrier, the AFP news agency reported.
The Mose system was designed to protect the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Venice, which is slowly sinking.
Emergency workers, including the fire brigade and coastguard, were at the scene for the rescue operation.
A spokesman for the Italian Fire Brigade said the three bodies were found in the cabin underwater. Their exact cause of death is unclear.
According to the spokesman, Invernizzi survived because he was "thrust out of the boat by the impact."
"We are heartbroken. Accidents like this have a very strong impact on all of us," said Gianni Darai, spokesman of Venice Assonautica, the nautical association that organized the event.