In San Diego, boating accidents are a fairly common occurrence with which many local residents are, unfortunately, all too familiar. That is why many Southern Californians are likely feeling the pain of a New York community as it struggles to come to terms with a tragic Fourth of July boat accident that resulted in the deaths of three children, ages 12, 11 and 8.
The fatal boating accident reportedly happened as the 34-foot-yacht was returning home from an Independence Day fireworks display on a nearby beach. When a sudden thunderstorm moved through the area, a large wave swelled up onto the yacht, causing it to flip over and throwing many of the 27 people on board into the rough water.
Thankfully, all of those who were thrown overboard survived. However, three children who were inside the boat’s cabin at the time of the accident became trapped when the vessel flipped. Their bodies were located later that night.
Police are not yet sure what caused the fatal accident, but are reportedly investigating weather and boat overcrowding as possible causes. It is also not known whether the yacht’s owner had enough lifejackets on board for every passenger, as is required by law.
It remains to be seen whether the owner or operator of the yacht will be criminally charged in connection with the fatal accident. Regardless, the families of the deceased children may decide to file a wrongful death or other personal injury claim against the operator, seeking damages for funeral costs and other expenses.
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune, “Yacht operator says NY boat hit by wave; 3 killed,” Frank Eltman, July 5, 2012