Toddler killed when boat capsizes

August 26, 2008 2:54:52 PM PDT
A 3-year-old girl was killed when a boat carrying four people capsized in the Long Island Sound Tuesday.The Westport Police Department Marine Division reported the capsizing of the Hobie Cat sailboat near the entrance to the Saugatuck River channel.

An 18-year-old sailing instructor took out three children on the boat, which was blown on its side after being hit with a strong gust of wind.

The parents of the young girl, identified as Alexandra Vitale, are reportedly doctors in New York City. The other two children are her cousins, 3-year-old William Howell and 6-year-old Andrew Howell. All of them reside in Brooklyn, with Vitale's parents reportedly having a summer home in Westport.

Authorities say the children had vests on, but may have been in the water for up to 20 minutes before being rescued.

Another boater reportedly came by and saw the instructor and one child in the water, holding on to the boat. The boater called in a mayday and then entered the water to assist in the rescue.

Authorities say all four victims were eventually rescued by the Westport Police Department Marine Division, with assistance from the Westport Fire Department and the Norwalk and Fairfield Marine Units. Vitale was unresponsive when she was pulled from the water, and CPR was administered enroute to Compo Boat Basin and then to Norwalk Hospital.

She was pronounced dead at Norwalk Hospital. The other three are expected to survive.

The incident is under investigation and ongoing.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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