Two people, including a 7-year-old boy, died on Tuesday after a 27-foot boat capsized in the Hudson River just north of Pier 79 in Midtown Manhattan, according to police officials.
A dozen passengers were on the boat when it overturned, and one was seriously injured while nine sustained minor injuries, a police official said in an email. It was unclear what had caused the boat to capsize.
Along with the 7-year-old, a 48-year-old woman died, according to Detective Arthur Tsui of the Police Department.
Assistant Chief James McCarthy of Manhattan South said in a press briefing that the capsized boat “was chartered by a family and friends and it was owned by an individual who was actually on a Jet Ski following the boat.”
Inspector Anthony Russo of the Harbor Unit said that a mix of factors, including “a lot of commercial, recreational traffic,” may have contributed to the boat’s capsizing.
“We had the current, the wind, so you could have wakes approaching from different directions, waves from different directions,” he said. “It takes some skill to operate in the Hudson River, so it could’ve been a contributing factor.”
Mayor Adams warned of accidents on water in summertime.
“It’s a clear reminder to us as we move through the summer months, water is an enjoyable part of New York but it can be a dangerous place,” he said.
Jeff Ryan, 38, an equities trader who had been on a cruise tour, said he saw a swarm of boats and helicopters buzzing above the side of the accident.
“You couldn’t see the boat, it was already under,” he said.
He said his tour boat operator had not mentioned news of the boat capsizing and failed to stop operations and help with the rescue.
“They continued us on our tour, they didn’t say guys there’s a person missing, keep an eye out,” he said. “The tour guide said we’re going around this mess but there were 200 people in the boat who could’ve seen if someone was struggling in the water.”
Ted Fields, 49, chief operating officer of Big City Tourism, who has worked in the Hudson River ferry tourism industry for over seven years, said that deaths in the Hudson River weren’t rare, recalling a fatal Jet Ski accident near Battery Park City in May.
“Listen, choppy waters,” he said. “The Hudson is very rough waters and very deep.
“Between the Jet Skis and the kayaks, the sail boats, a lot of smaller vessels, they’re mixing in with these larger vessels. It’s dangerous if you’re not respecting the waters.”
According to ABC News reported the three people were critically injured, including the captain. Victims became trapped beneath the boat when it flipped at around 2:45 p.m. off Manhattan near Pier 86, authorities said, which is in front of the docked aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, a popular tourist destination.
The cause was under investigation, said Inspector Anthony Russo, commanding officer of the New York Police Department’s Harbor Unit, at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
The boat had been chartered by a group of family and friends. Its owner was following behind on a personal watercraft, authorities said.
Investigators planned to look at the water conditions and the boat’s capacity to determine what went wrong on the river, where boat wakes and currents pose constant challenges.
“There’s a lot of commercial and recreational traffic during the day here. We also have a lot of people on Jet Skis, kayaks,” Russo said.
“The Hudson River is always a dangerous place to operate,” he said.
The names of the 50-year-old woman and the boy who died were not released.
“Our hearts go out to a group of people who were just using the water in our city,” Mayor Eric Adams said at the news conference. “This is a devastating moment for them and those who were part of the families that were there.”
Sources: NYTimes, ABC News, New York Daily News