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One Dead After Tour Boat Capsizes in Cave Along Erie Canal

One Dead After Tour Boat Capsizes in Cave Along Erie Canal

One Dead After Tour Boat Capsizes in Cave Along Erie Canal
WKBW

Authorities are treating the area as a crime scene.

By Eric Levenson and Laura Ly, CNN

(CNN) –A tour boat capsized in an underground cave along the Erie Canal in upstate New York on Monday, leaving one person dead and sending nearly a dozen others to the hospital, officials said.

A total of 28 visitors from a tour group and one staff member were aboard a boat operated by the Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride when it became unbalanced and flipped over, throwing everyone into the water, according to Lockport Fire Chief Luca Quagliano.

One man was stuck under the capsized boat and died, Quagliano said at a news conference Monday. Sixteen people were rescued by emergency crews while others were able to navigate out of the water safely, he added.

Eleven people were taken to hospitals for non-life threatening injuries, including a broken arm and a possible head injury, Quagliano said. He noted the boat could safely hold 40 people and no one had on a life jacket at the time the vessel capsized.

The boat was touring the Lockport cave, police said. Located about 20 miles east of Niagara Falls near the US-Canada border, the Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride takes people along the Erie Canal through an underground cave.

“Embark on one of America’s longest underground boat rides along the Erie Canal and experience a trip of wonders,” its website states. “Visitors are awestruck as they take a ride that has been described as both ‘peaceful and eerie’ as the boat glides through the lifeless water, illuminated only by small, sporadically placed electric lights.”

The cave maintains a temperature of 55 degrees year-round. The water is about 5 to 5-and-a-half feet deep, with some areas as deep as 6 feet, Quagliano said.

The cave is just one small section of the Erie Canal, the 1825 landmark work of civil engineering creating a waterway connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes.

Lockport Police Chief Steven Abbott said authorities are treating the area as a crime scene for now as their investigation continues.

The-CNN-Wire
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