OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (AP) — Safety experts say the yacht that capsized last night near New York's Long Island was severely overcrowded, and was doomed to flip over.
There were 27 friends and family members on board, watching Fourth of July fireworks. Three children died after becoming trapped in the cabin of the 34-foot vessel.
The man who was at the helm -- and whose nephew was among the three who died -- told a TV station (News12 Long Island) that he saw two lightning bolts, and then a wave suddenly hit. He says the next thing he knew, the boat was turning and "everybody was in the water." He says, "It was chaos."
Police say the cause of the accident is under investigation, but that it could have been the weather, overcrowding, the wake from another vessel, or a combination of factors.
A safety instructor and yacht captain with 35 years of experience says there's no question the boat was badly overloaded. Phil Cusumano of Boston says he would limit a vessel of that size to six adults. Some boating websites suggest a maximum of 15 passengers. Cusumano says 27 passengers "is just crazy" -- and that the boat 'would tip over with the first turn."
210-v-29-(Warren Levinson, AP correspondent)--The operator of a yacht that capsized off Long Island, killing three children, says it was hit by a wave. The AP's Warren Levinson reports. (5 Jul 2012)
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147-q-06-(Detective Lieutenant John Azzata (uh-ZAH'-tuh), Nassau County Police, at news conference)-"have it on"-Nassau County Police Detective Lieutenant John Azzata was asked if the three children who died were wearing life jackets. (5 Jul 2012)
<<CUT *147 (07/05/12)>> 00:06 "have it on"
149-a-11-(Detective Lieutenant John Azzata (uh-ZAH'-tuh), Nassau County Police, at news conference)-"that suddenly erupted"-Nassau County Police Detective Lieutenant John Azzata says the boat could have capsized for a variety of reasons -- they just don't know yet. (5 Jul 2012)
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APPHOTO NYSW103: Nassau County Police Det. Lt. John Azzata, right, gives information about a fatal boating accident during a news conference in Oyster Bay, N.Y., Thursday, July 5, 2012. Police say three bodies have been pulled out of New York's Long Island Sound after a yacht capsized on the Fourth of July Police say three bodies pulled out of New York's Long Island Sound after a yacht capsized were all children. The bodies of the 12-year-old boy and two girls, ages 11 and 8, were recovered from the boat's cabin. Twenty-four other people were rescued, and were treated and released. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (5 Jul 2012)
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APPHOTO GFX231: Map locates where a yacht capsized near Oyster Bay, New York. (5 Jul 2012)
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