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Griffin O'Neal Injured on River Near Annapolis : Coppola's Son Dies in Boating Accident

May 28, 1986

The son of film director Francis Ford Coppola was killed and the son of actor Ryan O'Neal injured when their motorboat struck a tow line stretched between two other craft on a river near Annapolis, Md., officials reported Tuesday.

Gian Carlo Coppola, 23, of Los Angeles, died of head injuries sustained when the line broke and whipsawed, throwing him to the deck of the 14-foot motorboat he was operating.

Griffin Patrick O'Neal, 21, of Beverly Hills, a passenger on the boat, suffered a minor shoulder injury.

Police said the two had rented the boat and were cruising on the South River off Edgewater, Md., near Chesapeake Bay.

Coppola and O'Neal were in the area because Francis Ford Coppola is filming a movie on location in Arlington, Va., a spokeswoman for the director said. She said the younger Coppola was assisting his father with the project.

Police said Coppola's rented motorboat apparently cut between a towboat and a disabled vessel, snapping the tow line.

Coppola was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. O'Neal refused treatment.

Coppola is survived by his father, his mother, Eleanor; a sister, Sofia, and a brother, Roman.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete.

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