EXCLUSIVE: Doomed LI yacht had 8 on upper deck

August 8, 2012 4:14:47 PM PDT
The parents of a girl killed in a July 4th boating accident are urging action to prevent further tragedies.

"I'd like to introduce you to my daughter Victoria, who's no longer with us," said Paul Gaines, Victoria's father.

Barely five weeks have passed since they lost their daughter, but the parents of 7-year-old Victoria Gaines are fighting through their pain, begging a committee of state lawmakers to make the water safer.

"This was a purely avoidable incident that never ever should have happened and I just want to do everything possible to prevent this from ever happening again," Gaines said.

Victoria and two other children died on the Fourth of July after a night of fireworks on Cold Spring Harbor.

Police say 27 people were crammed onto a 34-foot boat, when some combination of choppy water and too much weight capsized it.

Now, sources tell Eyewitness News investigators have concluded as many as eight people were squeezed onto the boat's upstairs fly deck, dangerously raising its center of gravity.

At the same time, they've found no specific structural or mechanical defects, but they're still waiting for an independent design review of the Silverton 34, to see if that played a role.

It's a review made even harder because Silverton, the boat's manufacturer, has gone out of business.

The investigation plods along.

"I wish I could wave a wand and legislate common sense but we can't," State Senator Carl Marcellino said.

Legislators are moving forward with the bigger picture.

As Victoria's heartbroken parents hope their daughter's story can save other people's lives.

"I cannot stand the thought of this ever happening again. So please, thank you," Gaines said.

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