A group of family members and friends were on their way home from a fireworks display on July 4 when their 34-foot yacht, the CANDI ONE, capsized in Oyster Bay. Three children, ages 8, 11 and 12, died in the accident, and 24 other people were rescued. According to NBC 4 New York, Nassau County Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lack said two of the children were recovered from inside the sunken vessel while the third was pulled from the water.
The cause of this tragic recreational boating accident was still under investigation as of last Thursday, with officials looking into overcrowding, stormy weather, mechanical failure and the wake of another boat as possible factors. There was no indication that either of the vessel’s two operators were under the influence of alcohol.
According to Newsday, witness Sammy Balasso said the CANDI ONE turned right and then tipped over after being hit by a wake. He reportedly threw every life jacket he had into the water and was able to pull 20 people onto his 38-foot speedboat.
In any vessel sinking in normal operating conditions, one of the main issues should be the overcrowding of the vessel and how it affected the stability of the vessel. Vessels are designed to able to withstand a certain amount of weight while sustaining stability. However, stability can be compromised by excess weight, and how weight is distributed on a vessel affects the vessel’s ability to maneuver.
Deputy Inspector Lack indicated that not all passengers aboard the CANDI ONE were wearing life jackets. Per New York state boating laws, all vessels must carry one Coast Guard-approved life jacket for every person onboard, and children under the age of 12 must wear a life jacket except when inside a totally enclosed cabin. Investigators are looking into whether the CANDI ONE had enough life jackets. Additionally the vessel may have been required to have a life ring, whistle and life raft, which are other life-saving devices.
Boating accidents can happen anytime, anywhere, especially during the summer season when more recreational boaters hit the water. It is important for both recreational boaters and owners/operators of commercial crafts to outfit their vessels with proper lifesaving equipment and to keep their vessels in good repair. The failure to do so can constitute negligence and entitle an injured party or the family members of the deceased to damages. Latti & Anderson LLP has represented families and injured boaters over the years and can explain the law to you.
Have you been injured in a maritime accident? Contact a Boston maritime attorney today to learn about your legal rights.
Latti & Anderson LLP – Boston maritime trial lawyers