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Owner and person driving the boat face charges in a tragic New York boat incident where 2 passengers lost their lives

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Two guys got arrested on Thursday, accused of causing the deaths of two people in July 2022 when the boat they were driving flipped over in the Hudson River in New York City, according to federal prosecutors.

Richard Cruz, 32, and Jaime Pinilla Gomez, 25, are facing charges for the incident. Cruz owned the boat, and Gomez was driving it. The complaint says that at the time of the accident, all 13 people on the boat were thrown into the water. Two victims, identified as Julian Vasquez, 7, and Lindelia Vasquez, 48, were found trapped under the boat and unconscious after it flipped. Emergency workers said they drowned.

Cruz and Gomez were offering boat tours on a vessel called “Stimulus Money” for paying customers before the accident. However, they didn’t have the right licenses to do so, according to the complaint.

The charges against them include breaking federal regulations by having more passengers than allowed, not having the required certification for carrying paying customers, and operating the boat without the necessary inspection. The boat’s manual said it shouldn’t have more than 12 people on board.

The complaint also mentioned a weather advisory in effect at the time, warning against navigating in hazardous conditions. Cruz and Gomez were accused of driving too fast in those weather conditions.

US Attorney Damian Williams said they ignored safety rules, operated the boat at an unsafe speed in dangerous conditions, and overloaded it with too many passengers. The tragic result was the drowning of a young boy and a woman trapped under the boat.

Cruz and Gomez could face a maximum sentence of 10 years if convicted. The attorneys for Gomez and Cruz, Thomas H. Nooter and Kristoff Williams, have not commented.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams called the incident a heartbreaking moment, expressing sympathy for the affected families. CNN reached out to the Vasquez family but hasn’t received a response.

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