One dead after boat capsizes during underground cave tour in upstate New York

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(NEW YORK) — 

One person has died after a tour boat capsized Monday morning at the Lockport Cave, a historical, underground boat ride by the Erie Canal in upstate New York, the local fire chief said.

Twenty-nine adults — 28 of whom were Niagara County hospitality employees — were on the small boat, which can handle 40 passengers, Lockport Fire Department Chief Luca Quagliano said at a news conference. At one point the boat became unbalanced and capsized, throwing everyone into the water, he said.

The man who died may have been stuck under the capsized boat, Quagliano said.

BREAKING: Multiple agencies are responding to a boat that capsized in the Lockport Cave Tours.

Working to learn more right now. Not sure how many people were on board/if they’re OK. @WKBW pic.twitter.com/89eiNQp6ye

— Kristen Mirand WKBW (@kristen_mirand) June 12, 2023

About 16 people were rescued by fire and EMS personnel, Quagliano said. Everyone else was able to get themselves to safety, he said, noting that the water is about 6 feet deep.

Eleven people were taken to hospitals for minor injuries, Quagliano said.

No one on board was wearing a life jacket, Quagliano said. 

My team is in close contact with local officials and emergency operations teams who have responded to a capsized boat along the Erie Canal in Lockport.@nyspolice, @NYSDHSES, @NYstateparks, and @HealthNYGov are on site to assist local officials in the response.

— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) June 12, 2023

It’s not clear why the boat capsized, the fire chief said.

The victim, who was not identified, was believed to be about 60 years old, Quagliano said, noting that his wife was among the people taken to a hospital.

Lockport is about 30 miles northeast of Buffalo.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul tweeted that her “team is in close contact with local officials and emergency operations teams.”

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