Cops: Murky Oyster Bay Slows Boat Raising

Nassau County Police Det. Lt. John Azzata, right, gives information about a fatal boating accident during a news conference in Oyster Bay, N.Y., Thursday, July 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

A dive team is struggling against murky conditions while trying to salvage the 34-foot boat that sank in Oyster Bay on July Fourth, killing three children.

Nassau County police said that divers with the FBI and the police department’s Marine Bureau began the process of raising the vessel from nearly 70 feet of water at 8:20 a.m. Tuesday. The operation will reportedly resume Wednesday.


“It is a slow, tedious process,” Det. Lt. John Azzata, head of the Homicide Squad, told reporters at a news briefing Tuesday afternoon. “The raising of the boat is important, but the safety of the divers is of the utmost importance.”

He said the low visibility underwater is caused by mud on the bay bottom being kicked up by the current and the divers. The conditions have in turn slowed the divers’ progress in attaching air-filled harnesses to the vessel.

Azzata said it is not clear when they will be able to bring the submerged boat to the surface. Once they do, police will pump it out, bring it to shore and take it to a facility for examination.

The dive work came the same day funeral were held for two of the three children who died when the boat sank last week. Harley Treanor, 11, of Huntington Station, and family friend, 8-year-old Victoria Gaines of Huntington, were laid to rest at separate services Tuesday.

A funeral was held Monday for the third victim, 12-year-old David Aurelino of Kings Park, who was Treanor’s cousin.

Sal Aureliano, David’s uncle, who was reportedly at the helm when the incident occurred, told local news outlets that a wave hit the boat, causing it to overturn.

Police said that the two dozen survivors have been cooperating with the investigation into what caused the boat to capsize.

Investigators have said they are exploring whether there were too many people on the boat, if there were enough life jackets, if there were any mechanical issues and if the weather played a role.

James Mercante, a lawyer representing the boat’s owner and Harley’s father, Kevin Treanor, said the boat was not overcrowded and its owner was responsible.

“They were in the wrong place at the wrong time during very difficult sea conditions,” said Mercante.

-With Timothy Bolger

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