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Chaos and Shouts as Tourist Vessel Overturns in Erie Canal Water Tunnel in Western New York

by Madison Thomas
5 comments
Tour boat capsizes

A passenger who was flung from a boat when it capsized with 29 occupants during a tour of a dimly illuminated cave system shared his harrowing experience of struggling to breathe in the freezing water beneath the overturned vessel.

The flat-bottomed vessel, filled with local hospitality personnel, toppled over on Monday while touring a historic subterranean water passage connected to the Erie Canal in Lockport, a city in western New York. The tragic event resulted in one fatality.

“As soon as I grasped what had occurred, the boat was already over me, and I couldn’t locate any air pockets or the like. I was simply attempting to breathe, given I was submerged,” survivor Daniel Morrissette recounted on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” in an interview broadcast on Tuesday.

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The individual who lost their life was also ensnared when the boat operated by Lockport Cave Tours capsized. Eleven people were transported to hospitals, with injuries mostly minor in nature, as reported by authorities.

Elizabeth Morrissette told GMA that there were frantic cries and screams as people were hurled into the water, which, according to emergency services, was between 5 and 6 feet deep.

Some passengers managed to reach safety. For approximately 16 others, rescue came in the form of an inflatable boat deployed by emergency teams, as reported by fire officials.

The Lockport Police Department is conducting an investigation into the incident. An inquiry for an update was emailed to the police chief on Tuesday.

The tours provide visitors with an experience of an underground boat journey through a ruggedly cut tunnel, constructed in the 19th century to channel canal water for industrial power.

The site is situated roughly 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of Niagara Falls.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Tour boat capsizes

Where did the tour boat capsize?

The tour boat capsized during a tour of a historic underground water tunnel off the Erie Canal in the western New York city of Lockport.

How many people were on the boat when it capsized?

There were 29 people on the boat when it capsized during a tour of the underground water tunnel.

What were the conditions inside the water tunnel when the boat capsized?

The water tunnel was dimly lit and the water was chilly, between 5 and 6 feet deep.

Were there any fatalities in the boat capsizing incident?

Yes, one person unfortunately died when the tour boat operated by Lockport Cave Tours capsized.

How did the rescue operations take place?

Emergency crews used an inflatable boat to rescue about 16 passengers. Other passengers were able to reach safety themselves.

Who is investigating the incident?

The incident is being investigated by the City of Lockport Police Department.

What is the main purpose of the tours?

The tours take visitors on an underground boat ride through a rough-hewn tunnel, which was blasted out in the 19th century to transport canal water as an industrial power source.

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5 comments

Mike R June 13, 2023 - 7:15 pm

omg, this is so scary. I’ve been on that tour before, the tunnel is pretty dark, can’t imagine what they went through. RIP to the person who didn’t make it 🙁

Reply
John D June 13, 2023 - 8:45 pm

wow that’s horrible! I hope everyone’s ok. Does anybody know what caused the boat to capsize? Hope the investigation will shed some light on this.

Reply
Lara_M June 14, 2023 - 5:15 am

That’s my hometown… can’t believe this happened, so shocked. The tour is normally a fun time. Life can change in an instant, it’s so heartbreaking.

Reply
SandyP June 14, 2023 - 6:39 am

Jeez, we were plannin to go there next month with the fam… this is a wakeup call, always need to consider safety first. Prayers for the families involved.

Reply
TouristGuy June 14, 2023 - 6:44 am

I am a tour guide and it’s my worst nightmare. People’s lives are in our hands… We have to take more precautions, this should not happen!

Reply

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