3 children dead after boat capsizes off Long Island

July 5, 2012 8:18:14 PM PDT
A yacht with more than two dozen people on board capsized on Long Island's north shore late Wednesday, and an all-night search turned tragic when the bodies of three children were pulled from the water.

The cause of the accident is under investigation, though authorities are looking into the possibility that some severe weather tore through the Oyster Bay area. They are also examining if another boat's wake could caused the incident.

Eyewitness News obtained new video of the boat moments after the accident. You can see passengers piling on top of the turned over boat.

It appears it was a Fourth of July pleasure cruise, with 27 people aboard the 34-foot yacht. Just after 10 p.m., an emergency call came through that the boat had flipped. Most of the people were taken into other crafts very quickly.

One victim was quickly pulled from the water and pronounced dead.

Police divers worked overnight in murky conditions and found two other victims in the sunken vessel.

"The first person was found shortly after the distress call came in," Nassau County police inspector Kenneth Lack said. "The two others were located in the vessel. It took some time for the Mari Bureau divers to pull them out of the vessel."

The victims, two girls and a boy, were identified as 12-year-old David Aurelino, 11-year-old Harlie Paige Treanor and 8-year-old Victoria Gaines. They were all Suffolk County residents.

Authorities were investigating how many people on board were wearing life preservers. Children under the age of 12 are required to wear life jackets unless they are inside the cabin, but since two of the victims were found inside the boat, it is not believed any laws were broken. They also could not get a count of the number of life jackets on board because the ship was submerged.

The boat remained under water on Thursday. Police said it sank in 20 feet of water but drifted southeast and was sitting in about 60 feet of water.

Boating records shows that the owner of the boat is Kevin Treanor.

Treanors attorney says Treanor was on the boat last night but wasnt driving it.

Video from last night shows police speaking with a man that appears to be Treanor.

Investigators say a number of factors could have played a role.

It could be overcrowding it could be as mechanical malfunction. A wake created by another boat or a weather condition last night that suddenly erupted

The National Weather Service said a thunderstorm moved through the area of the boat accident at around 10:30 p.m., and winds never exceeded 10-15 mph.

A boater told Newsday he saw the yacht turn right and then tip over after it was hit by a wake.

"It was like in slow motion," said Sammy Balasso, of Oyster Bay. "All of a sudden, a lot of bodies were in the water."

His nephew, 15-year-old Frankie Barbone of Bayview, said the waves almost came up over the yacht.

Balasso said he put the spotlight of his 38-foot speedboat on the Silverton and then threw all the life jackets he had with him into the water. He said he rescued 20 people who were later taken to the shore in police boats.

"Everybody was panicking," Balasso said. "People were saying things like 'Why?'"

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