Sunken yacht to be raised for investigation

Two Nassau County police boats are stationed near Long Island Sound after the fatal capsizing.
Two Nassau County police boats are stationed near Long Island Sound after the fatal capsizing. (RICHARD DREW / AP)
Posted: July 07, 2012

OYSTER BAY, N.Y. - A sunken yacht on which three children died during an Independence Day fireworks outing was tethered on Friday to prevent it from drifting away but must be raised from the water before investigators can determine what caused it to capsize.

There were 10 children and 17 adults aboard the Kandi Won when it tipped over and sank after the July Fourth nighttime fireworks show, trapping three children in the main cabin. Boating experts said the vessel was too full and was bound to capsize. That, combined with weather and a strong wave, might have doomed the yacht as it was steering toward land amid a throng of holiday boaters on Long Island Sound.

On Friday, a line was tied from police boats to the 34-foot sunken vessel so it wouldn't drift. The Navy and Coast Guard may help raise the boat, which is submerged 60 feet below the surface.

The yacht's owner, Kevin Treanor, who is related to some of the victims, bought it in April 2011, records show. There was no answer to calls at his home Friday.

An insurance company lawyer who is representing him, James Mercante, said he would like to know if something mechanical was responsible. "Thirty-four-foot boats shouldn't roll over, with or without people on it," he said.

Mercante lambasted media reports that there were not enough life jackets, noting that the children who died were in the cabin, where no life vests are required by law. "There were enough life jackets on board for every person on board and more," he said. "The life jackets had nothing to do with this incident."

Nassau County Detective Lt. John Azzata said the cause remained under investigation but possibilities include the weather, overcrowding, and a wake from another vessel. He said the area was busy with boaters watching the fireworks.

Killed were Aureliano's nephew David Aureliano, 12, and two girls, Harley Treanor, 11, and Victoria Gaines, 8.

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