Did Overloaded Boat Cause Deaths of Two People on James River in Newport News?
I was saddened to read about a tragic boating accident on the James River in Newport News which claimed the lives of two boaters.
Virginia Marine Police are investigating a capsizing that led to the deaths of two people when a boat they were in overturned Sunday afternoon, reported WAVY.com.
Newport News Fire Department was called out to the VMRC pier at the 600 block of Jefferson Avenue after receiving the call concerning an overturned boat in the James River near the Monitor Merrimac tunnel, reported WAVY.com.
Firefighters found several people in the water, holding on to ropes thrown in from bystanders at the pier. They told WAVY.com there were five people on the 1975 Manatee boat when it capsized. Two of the five were killed in the accident.
Firefighters successfully rescued three other people. Two of them were transported to local hospitals and one was treated at the scene.
“Preliminary evidence revealed that the boat was overloaded by the five passengers and coolers. The boat was swamped after the engine failed,” reported WAVY
Investigators are looking to see if any mechanical issues may have contributed to this tragedy. The Daily Press reported the identities of those who drowned as 53-year-old Philip Earl Smallwood and 52-year-old William T. Smallwood Jr., both of North Carolina.
My thoughts are with the families of the two people who lost their life in this tragedy. When we board a boat we can sometimes be oblivious to the dangers. However, if people who are on a boat are not provided with life jackets or if a boat is overloaded, an owner or operator can bear responsibility for an accident.
A Newport New wrongful death lawyer can advise you of your rights if you lose a family member in tragic circumstances. Call Cooper Hurley at 757.455.0077.