Monday, April 15, 2024

Owner and captain of boat face legal action after fatal accident in New York waters resulting in the loss of two passengers’ lives

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Two guys got arrested on Thursday for being responsible for the deaths of two folks when the boat they were driving tipped over in the Hudson River in New York City in July 2022.

Richard Cruz, aged 32, and Jaime Pinilla Gomez, aged 25, got charged with misconduct and neglect that led to the deaths, according to the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York. Cruz owned the boat, and Gomez was the one steering it, according to the accusations.

During the accident, all 13 folks on the boat got thrown into the water, as per a criminal complaint obtained by CNN. Rescue teams found two victims, Julian Vasquez, 7, and Lindelia Vasquez, 48, under the boat, unconscious after it tipped over. Emergency workers said they drowned.

Cruz and Gomez were giving paid tours on the boat called “Stimulus Money” before the accident, but they didn’t have the right licenses for it, as per the complaint.

The complaint says Cruz and Gomez broke a bunch of rules, like having too many people on the boat, not having the right certifications for carrying paying customers, and not getting the boat inspected like they should have.

The boat’s manual said only 12 people should be on board, according to the complaint.

There was a weather warning for New York Harbor when the accident happened, the complaint said. It warned inexperienced sailors, especially those in smaller boats, to stay away from dangerous conditions. Cruz and Gomez were also accused of driving too fast given the weather.

“The rules are there to make sure folks are safe when they’re riding in commercial boats,” said US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams in a news release. “These guys didn’t follow the rules, they ignored safety steps, they drove too fast in dangerous weather, and they loaded the boat with too many passengers.”

“And the sad result was that a young boy and a woman got stuck under the boat and drowned,” he added.

Cruz and Gomez could get up to 10 years in prison if convicted, the news release said.

Gomez’s lawyer, Thomas H. Nooter, didn’t comment to CNN. Kristoff Williams, listed as Cruz’s attorney, hasn’t responded.

The Mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, called the accident a “devastating moment.”

“Our hearts are with the folks who were just out on the water,” Adams said. “This is really tough for them and their families.”

CNN tried to reach out to the Vasquez family but hasn’t gotten a response.

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