Probe Begins of Boat Accident; 20 Dead
Oct 3, 8:57 AM (ET)
By CHRIS CAROLA
(AP) A search boat patrols the waters in Lake George, N.Y., Monday, Oct. 3, 2005. A boat carrying...
LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (AP) - The captain of a tour boat that capsized, killing 20 people, told authorities it was hit by waves from another vessel or vessels and went over as he tried to steer out of them, authorities said Monday.
The postcard perfect day of sailing on Lake George suddenly turned horrific Sunday when the 40-foot boat the Ethan Allen flipped over so quickly that none of the 47 passengers could put on a life jacket. Seven people were hospitalized.
All the passengers were from Michigan, Warren County Sheriff Larry Cleveland said Monday. Their names were not immediately disclosed. A hospital spokesman had earlier put the toll at 21, but Cleveland said it was 20.
"The boat was sideways in the water, and people were screaming," said Joanne Rahal, who was in a boat when the Ethan Allen flipped. "Bodies were floating by our boat."
"We were just cruising along, and all of a sudden, the boat tipped. We thought it was kind of like a joke," Ann Mae Hawley, 74, told the Glens Falls Post-Star. "Next thing I knew, I was in the water under the boat.
"I could see my husband, and I called to him, but he didn't respond. I don't know where he is now."
The sheriff said none of the passengers was able to put on a life jacket. "Some of the victims were in fact found still trapped in the boat by divers," he said.
The National Transportation Safety Board arrived on the scene early Monday.
There had been hundreds of boats on Lake George on the sunny Sunday afternoon, causing "a lot of wave action," Cleveland said.