Police Examine Boat in Which Three Children Died Off L.I.

Investigators probing a Fourth of July sinking near Long Island’s Oyster Bay began examining the refloated boat in which three children died, Nassau County police said.

FBI divers using an inflatable salvage system raised the 34-foot (10-meter) Silverton vessel, which was brought to shore, Daniel Danzi, a Nassau County police spokesman, said yesterday. Investigators are trying to determine what led it to capsize, throwing 24 passengers into the water and trapping David Aureliano, 12, Harlie Treanor, 11, and Victoria Gaines, 8.

“The boat was raised successfully and we will let the investigation run its course,” Danzi said by telephone.

As part of the probe, investigators plan to talk to survivors of the nighttime tragedy off Bayville, between Centre Island and Lloyd Neck, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) northeast of Manhattan, according to James Imperiale, a police spokesman. He said possible causes under scrutiny are weather, wakes from other boats, mechanical failure and the passenger load.

Any evidence will go to Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, who will decide what steps to take next, Imperiale said.

U.S. Coast Guard rules require vessels to carry one personal flotation device for each passenger, while state law calls for children under 12 to wear them at all times except when in a boat’s cabin, Imperiale said.

The Coast Guard doesn’t set maximum capacities for vessels longer than 26 feet, according to Petty Officer Erik Swanson.

Jim Mercante, a lawyer with Rubin, Fiorella & Friedman LLP in New York and a retired merchant marine captain, has said he doesn’t believe overcrowding was an issue because at least 10 of those on board were children. Mercante was hired by an insurer to represent the boat’s owner, Kevin Treanor, the father of one of the victims.

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