One person was killed and 11 others were injured after a tourist boat capsized at an underground Erie Canal attraction in Lockport, New York Monday morning.
The deadly incident happened at 11:20 a.m. at Lockport Caves, a tourist destination that features underground boat rides along the Eric Canal’s Niagara Escarpment ridge, about 30 miles northeast of Buffalo, according to local leaders and emergency officials.
Twenty-eight adult tourists affiliated with Destination Niagara and one staffer were aboard the flat-bottomed pontoon-like vessel when it flipped over in the shallow waters of the narrow cave, officials said.
One unnamed man drowned after being trapped under the boat, while 11 others suffered “minor” injuries, the most serious of which was a broken arm, according to police.
Officials only realized the victim was unaccounted for after everyone else was taken out of the cave. Sixteen people were rescued by boat and the rest walked to safety, they said.
“I don’t think we had confirmation of his passing for at least an hour. At least an hour, he was under that boat,” Lockport Police Chief Steven Abbott said at an afternoon news conference.
The tourists were sitting four across without harnesses or life jackets in the boat, which was specifically designed for the narrow 300-foot tour, officials said.
“It’s been an attraction since the 70s without incident. They are going to do a full and thorough investigation. If it’s not safe then it will not be running,” Lockport Mayor Michelle Roman said.
Police were unsure if there was an air pocket under the boat when it flipped, and the cause of the accident was not immediately clear.
“Even with a life jacket on, if the boat flipped in a certain way, there could have been someone trapped under there,” Abbott added.
SOURCE: New york post