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Fourth of July Boating Tragedy Off Coast of Long Island

LongIsland.com

Investigators are still determining the actual cause of a yacht capsizing off the coast of Oyster Bay following a fireworks display.

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Officials are still investigating the tragic fourth of July boating accident that killed 3 children off the coast of Oyster Bay.  The yacht capsized while 27 passengers were aboard, 10 children and 17 adults.  The 3 children who drowned in the accident, David Aureliano, Harley Treanor and Victoria Gaines, were trapped in the cabin.  The other 24 passengers were safely removed from the water, and only some were treated for minor injuries.

The Kandi Won, a 34-foot yacht owned by Kevin Treanor, tipped over following the fireworks display.  Current theories proposed by boating experts and officials suggest that the yacht was overcrowded and that a strong wave and poor weather combined to doom the vessel.  Sal Aureliano, whose nephew died in the accident, said he saw two lightning bolts and then felt a large wave hit the vessel.  The National Weather Service said winds never exceeded 10 to 15 m.p.h. and that a thunderstorm moved through the area around 10:30 p.m., twenty minutes after the first 911 call.  Nassau County Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lack announced the preliminary causes of the accident "could be a combination of the weather and a wake from another vessel,” and overcrowding would also be investigated as a possible cause.  
 
The Kandi Won sank 20 feet after the accident, and remains tethered under 60 feet of water off Long Island’s North Shore where it’s drifted since July 4.   It will have to be brought to the surface to check for mechanical failures or other evidence that can suggest what may have caused the accident.  James Mercante, the lawyer representing Kevin Treanor, has said, “"Thirty-four-foot boats shouldn't roll over, with or without people on it,” and insisted that there were more than enough life jackets on board for the amount of passengers.  Mercante also noted that children are not required by law to wear life jackets when inside a completely enclosed cabin.  
 
Nearby boats immediately responded to the accident, and most of the Kandi Won’s passengers were taken aboard other yachts, or brought ashore by police vessels.  The first body was recovered shortly after the initial 911 call around 10:10 on Wednesday evening, and the two others were later found within the cabin.  Inspector Lack attributed the delayed recovery to the difficulty in navigating the water in the darkness.
 
Boat capacities are usually listed by adults and weight capacity, which means that if there are a handful of children on board, the maximum capacity can increase.  Boating restrictions are severely enforced along Long Island’s shores, and seasoned boaters usually expect a rush of boats to the docks following a fireworks show.  The official cause of the accident has yet to be determined.  

 

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