A 73-year old man from Manhattan drowned earlier this month when he fell out of a boat on the Croton Falls reservoir. The early afternoon boating accident in New York drew attention from surrounding counties as 8 rescue and public safety agencies responded to the call for help. Putnam County officials first reported that the man, John Scales, was in a boat with 82-year old Joe Gay (also of New York City) when the boat capsized tossing both men into the water. However, it now appears that Mr. Scales fell from the seat while fishing.
Mr. Gay, who was in the water at the time first responders arrived, was taken to a nearby hospital and released. His friend was recovered from the reservoir by divers roughly an hour later. Sadly, police investigating the deadly New York boating accident say that both men had personal floatation devices in the boat but neither man was wearing them.
The investigation failed to uncover exactly how Mr. Scales fell out of the boat but it appears that the seat itself went over the gunwale with Mr. Scales still in it. This could represent a manufacturing defect or wear and tear on a critical component of the boat's structure. Indeed, further investigation may conclude that this tragic boating accident in New York was caused by a material defect in the boat's construction or improper maintenance on the part of the boat owner. In either case, surviving family members could potentially pursue legal action against the responsible party for the loss of their loved one.
Regardless of the cause, this accident spotlights the necessity for safe, competent boat operation on New York's waterways and the use (not just possession) of personal floatation devices. Had the men been wearing life preservers, this story could have had a happy ending.
If you or a loved one has been injured on the water and believe another party is at least partially responsible, contact a New York City boating accident attorney immediately for a confidential consultation. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122 to learn your rights.