Three children have died and 24 people were rescued after authorities say a boat watching fireworks capsized off the coast of Long Island, and police say bad weather and an overburdened boat were to blame for the deadly accident.
A call reporting the accident first came in at around 10:10 PM, and authorities raced to the scene to rescue more than two dozen people in the water after the small vessel became overwhelmed. Some boaters in the water near the craft by Oyster Bay reported a spate of unusually bad weather at the time the boat capsized — with one witness indicating a severe thunderstorm with hail occurred — but it was also clear that the 34-foot Silverton was overwhelmed and had many more occupants than was safe.
One witness describes the boat taking a “sharp left” before it flipped, and Montauk Marine Basin dealer Carl Darenberg spoke to local news about the accident, saying that even without seeing the accident, it is difficult to imagine how 27 people would safely occupy the vessel:
“The boat, at most, was probably carrying 10 life jackets, which right there is in Coast Guard safety violation… And the boat was clearly overburdened. If you told me there were 10 people on board, I’d say that was pushing it. Twenty-seven is just hard to believe. They were probably scattered everywhere.”
Nearby boater Sam Galasso describes a frighteningly chaotic scene in which parents frantically swam about in the waves searching for their children. Galasso — who took 16 or 17 survivors onto his boat in the aftermath, recalls:
“A friend of mine was in my boat and shined a spotlight on them because their boat was getting close to us. Then we saw them take a sharp left and it flipped. My friend screamed, ‘You’ve got to help these people.’ And I turned my boat and went toward them… Everyone in my boat did everything to get people out of the water.”
The kids who were killed in the boating accident on Long Island Sound were said to be 8, 11 and 12, but police have not released their names.