NEW YORK -- A week after a boat loaded with July 4 revelers capsized and sank off Long Island, killing three children, officials managed to retrieve the vessel from more than 60 feet of water Wednesday in hopes of determining the cause of the tragedy.
The Kandi Won, a 34-foot-long vessel, was carrying 27 people when it flipped over; it had been headed back to land after an evening on the water to watch Independence Day fireworks. The three who died, including the 11-year-old daughter of the boat's owner, were found trapped inside the boat's cabin.
Despite speculation that the boat was overloaded, police have said the vessel could have suffered a structural or mechanical problem. Sal Aureliano, who was at the helm when the Kandi Won capsized a little after 10 p.m. on July 4, has suggested weather played a role, saying a huge wave slammed the boat from the side and caused it to capsize.
Aureliano's nephew, David Aureliano, 12, was one of the three children killed. The others were Harlie Treanor, 11, whose father owns the boat, and Victoria Gaines, 8.
"We'd like to have the boat in as pristine condition as possible," Det. Lt. John Azzata, head of the Nassau County Police Homicide Squad, said as efforts were under way Tuesday to raise the boat, Newsday reported. "If, God forbid, there was a traumatic mechanical malfunction that caused this ship to sink, we'd like to know that."
The retrieval was hampered by murky conditions and strong currents where the boat came to rest. The FBI was called in to help and used giant floats and straps looped beneath the vessel to raise it to the surface Wednesday afternoon. It was to be hoisted onto land later.
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