Police say a massive wave may have knocked 27 people from a yacht during an Independence Day celebration near New York's Long Island, leading to the drownings of three children. WNBC's Jonathan Vigliotti reports.
Three children died and 24 other people were rescued after being pulled from the Long Island Sound after their yacht capsized on the Fourth of July, Nassau County police say.
Authorities say the group had been out watching fireworks on Oyster Bay to celebrate Independence Day when tragedy struck. The cause of the capsize is under investigation, though officials believe weather, overcrowding or a massive wave from the wake of another boat may have been factors.
Nassau County Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lack said two of the child victims were recovered from inside the sunken yacht after a long overnight search. Another was pulled from the water Wednesday night. The victims were David Aurelino, 12, Harley Treanor, 11, and Victoria Gaines, 8.
Authorities said the boat party was a group of family members and friends who were returning from a fireworks display when their vessel capsized and began sinking. Two people were operating the boat, and investigators say there is no evidence they were intoxicated when the accident happened.
Someone called 911 just after 10 p.m. Wednesday to report the accident, and nearby civilian watercraft helped officials in the rescue effort.
The U.S. Coast Guard says survivors were pulled from the water after the 34-foot Silverton capsized. All 27 passengers had been in the water at one point, police said. Most of them were taken aboard other crafts very quickly, he said.
Police say the rescue operation was hampered by the number of victims in the water, the time of day and the number of boats out celebrating the holiday.
Lack says some but not all passengers had been wearing life jackets. Authorities said part of their investigation would delve into whether there were enough life jackets on the yacht for all the passengers, which is required. It's also required that anyone younger than age 12 have a life jacket on when outside the boat's cabin.
A special marine warning was in effect for that particular area of the Long Island Sound late Wednesday night. Radar captured between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. showed a severe thunderstorm crossing Oyster Bay with winds of up to 40 mph.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Anthony Kozak said the Silverton yacht was submerged about 60 feet under water three miles off the coast of Oyster Bay.
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