UNITED STATES NEWS

Passenger recounts fight to breathe after boat capsized in underground water tunnel in New York

Jun 13, 2023, 7:34 AM | Updated: 2:20 pm

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (AP) — A passenger thrown from a boat that flipped over with 29 people aboard during a tour of a dimly lit cavern system said he fought to breathe in the chilly water under the capsized craft.

The flat-bottomed boat carrying local hospitality workers capsized Monday during a tour of an historic underground water tunnel off the Erie Canal in the western New York city of Lockport, killing one person.

“By the time I realized what happened, the boat was on top of me and I couldn’t find any air pockets or anything. And I’m just trying to, like, breathe because I’m underwater,” survivor Daniel Morrissette told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in an interview aired Tuesday.

The unidentified person who died also was trapped after the boat operated by Lockport Cave Tours capsized. Eleven people were brought to hospitals, mostly with minor injuries, according to officials.

Elizabeth Morrissette told GMA people were panicking and yelling loudly as they were thrown into the water, which emergency officials said was between 5 feet and 6 feet deep.

Some passengers were able to get to safety. Emergency crews used an inflatable boat to rescue about 16 others, fire officials said.

City of Lockport Police were investigating the accident. An email seeking an update was sent to the police chief Tuesday.

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.

The attraction is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of Niagara Falls.

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Passenger recounts fight to breathe after boat capsized in underground water tunnel in New York