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Video: 2 dead after chartered river boat capsizes

NYPD and FDNY divers pulled a boy and woman from the murky water and medics rendered aid, but the two patients died


New York Police Department and New York City Fire Department dive teams helped transport a victim of a boat accident on the Hudson River on Tuesday afternoon.

Photo/Luiz C. Ribeiro/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service

Rocco Parascandola, Kerry Burke, Clayton Guse and Elizabeth Keogh
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — A chartered private boat capsized on the Hudson River Tuesday, killing a little boy and a woman who were among passengers dumped into the water, officials said.

The private boat flipped around 2:46 p.m. off Pier 84 near W. 46 Street and 12th Avenue in Midtown, police and fire officials said. All the riders were pulled from the water, but a 7-year-old boy and a 50-year-old woman later died. Three others rescued were in critical condition at area hospitals, the officials said.

The 27-foot vessel was chartered by a family and friends from New Jersey, officials and sources said.

The owner of the boat was trailing behind the group on a jet ski when the wake from a passing ferry rocked the vessel, capsizing it, police and sources said.

Investigators believe the boat was overloaded, the sources said.

Photos of the aftermath showed survivors clasping their heads in disbelief and slumped in agony, while rescuers appeared grief-stricken.

A witness on the New Jersey shoreline watched in horror as the panicked boaters clung to the flipped vessel and nearby jet ski.

“There were about four people on top of the bottom of the boat screaming,” said Raidy Garcia, 28. “I couldn’t make out anything other than their screams.”

Two NY Waterway ferries — the Garden State and the John Stevens — rescued nine passengers from the water, a NY Waterway spokesperson said.

“Another boat was pulling people out of the water,” said Emily Ryan, 39. “When we went by there were tons of red life vests floating in the water.”

When the boy and woman remained missing, NYPD and FDNY divers leaped into the river in search of them, and as divers were searching the murky water, the NYPD’s aviation unit hovered above the river.

FDNY diver Ryan Warnock, who pulled the little boy’s body from the water, recounted the frantic effort to pull him to safety.

”They took us out to the middle of the river there, and conditions were windy ... rather (like) the ocean was being stirred up,” he said, adding “there were quite a few boats. So the waves seemed significant.”

“I was checking for an air pocket for myself (under the capsized boat) and while I’m doing that, located a small person” with “a vest on,” he related. “Rescue medics were there and they started to intubate and do CPR.”

“Anytime it’s a child ... your emotional state changes, but you just have a job to do and you do it and we train for this,” he said.

Divers found both victims drifting near the boat, but they were unresponsive, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at the news conference.

Divers earlier noted the little boy and woman had swallowed water.

“Other smaller boats were getting people out of the water,” said Ryan, a tourist from Calgary, Canada. “It was incredible.”

As officials announced the deaths of the boy and woman, the boat owner wailed and collapsed to the ground.

Sewell applauded the rescue workers.

“This is a tragic day for New Yorkers,” Sewell said. “Indeed it may have well been worse for it not have been the incredible efforts by not only our own extraordinary first responders, but also the swift response from the New York Waterway ferries, who rescued nine additional people from the water.”

Investigators are still looking at other factors that may have been at play in the deadly capsizing.

The commanding officer of the NYPD’s harbor unit said the Hudson River is “always a dangerous place to operate.”

“There’s a lot of commercial and recreational traffic during the day here,” said Inspector Anthony Russo. “We also have a lot of people on jet skis, kayaks. We have the current, the wind. You can have wakes approaching from different directions, waves from different directions. It takes some skill to operate in the Hudson River.”


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