NY Waterway joined the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) Harbor Unit and the New York Police Department (NYPD) Harbor and Aviation Units in rescuing passengers from a boat that capsized on the Hudson River on July 12, in which two persons drowned.
At approximately 3 p.m., NY Waterway responded to an emergency when a 27-foot private charter boat overturned in the Hudson River, just north of the Pier 79 Midtown ferry terminal. The 12 passengers on board were sent into the water.
The tragedy and rescue was visible from New York City as well as the other municipalities adjacent to the Hudson River such as Weehawken and Hoboken, where the NY Waterway ferry terminals are located.
According to NY Waterway, two of its ferries, the Garden State and the John Stevens, arrived on the scene and their crews rescued nine passengers from the private boat. The crews cooperated closed with FDNY and NYPD response teams, who rescued two others from the water on arrival and retrieving the bodies of the two deceased.
In total, 13 people were rescued from the Hudson River, including the owner of the boat, who was actually on a jet ski behind the boat. According to NYPD officials, a child and a woman were killed in the incident, having been trapped under the capsized boat. The two were later identified as 47-year-old Lindelia Vasquez and 7-year-old Julien Vasquez.
In addition, a 32-year-old woman, a 51-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man were hospitalized at Mount Sinai West. Many of those on the boat were part of a group of Colombian tourists staying in Elizabeth.
NYPD officials have said the boat was chartered by a family and friends and it was owned by an individual who was following the boat on a jet ski. Investigators suspect that the boat was likely overcrowded for its size and was probably capsized by a wake from another vessel in the Hudson River. Other factors may have contributed too, such as the wind, current, waves, and other marine traffic in the river.
What went wrong and why?
The boat was later pulled from the river by an Army Corps of Engineers crane. Authorities continue to search for answers as two passengers remain in critical condition at the hospital, and another is in “stable yet critical” condition.
“Our hearts go out to the boat goers lost in today’s tragic accident and those still recovering,” NY Waterway said in a statement. “We are so grateful for the swift response of the NYPD, FDNY and our Waterway crews during this difficult rescue.”
The response by NY Waterway elicited praise from NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell: “This is a tragic day for New Yorkers. Indeed, it may have well been worse were it not for the incredible effort by not only our own extraordinary first responders but also the swift response from New York Waterway ferries who rescued nine additional people from the water.”
NY Waterway also praised their employees in a later statement on social media: “We are so proud of the NY Waterway captains and crews that leapt into action today to rescue boaters following the maritime accident in the Hudson. Their training and professionalism saved lives, as they have countless times before.”
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.