A New York Police Department spokesperson identified the victims to The Washington Post as 47-year-old Lindelia Vasquez and 7-year-old Julian Vasquez, both of Colombia. They had boarded a jet boat called Stimulus Money from Elizabeth, N.J., for a family trip to the Hudson River, according to WABC.
Three people, including the captain, were critically injured. The injured passengers, who have not been publicly identified, range in ages between 24 and 51, according to police. They were transported to Mount Sinai West Hospital and were listed in stable condition Wednesday morning, police told The Post. All the other family members aboard, all from Colombia, suffered less-serious injuries, officials said.
Assistant Police Chief James McCarthy said at a news conference that the owner of the boat “was actually on a Jet Ski following the boat.” As authorities retrieve the boat, one of the issues they will be reviewing is whether the boat was over capacity, McCarthy said.
“The cause of this incident remains under investigation at this time,” police told The Post.
Inspector Anthony Russo of the Harbor Unit told reporters that several factors could have played a role in the capsizing of the 27-foot Yamaha vessel near the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, including boat “wakes approaching from different directions, waves from different directions.”
“There’s a lot of commercial and recreational traffic during the day here. We also have a lot of people on Jet Skis, kayaks,” Russo said. “The Hudson River is always a dangerous place to operate.”
He added, “It takes some skill to operate in the Hudson River, so it could’ve been a contributing factor.”
Marine and land units responded to the Hudson River shortly after the boat capsized, according to the New York City Fire Department. Video posted to social media shows rescuers in the water scrambling to transfer the passengers off the capsized boat.
FDNY firefighter Ryan Warnock acknowledged to reporters that a young victim can change first responders’ emotional state, “but you just have a job to do, and you do it.”
“This is a tragic day for New Yorkers,” New York Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a news conference. “Indeed, it may have well been worse for not the incredible effort by not only our own extraordinary first responders but also the swift response from the New York Waterway ferries who rescued nine additional people from the water.”
After arriving near the scene of the incident, New York Mayor Eric Adams (D) described the fatal capsizing as “a devastating moment.”
“Our hearts go out to a group of people who were just using the water in our city,” Adams said. “This is a devastating moment for them and those who are part of the families that were there, and as New Yorkers, our heart goes out.”
The mayor also added a note of caution to anyone who chooses to go out on the Hudson this summer.
“It’s a clear reminder to us as we move through the summer months: Water is an enjoyable part of New York, but it can be a dangerous place,” Adams said.