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Family says boaters in fatal New York accident were not drunk

Was a fatal boat crash in New York due to a drunk driver or a poorly lighted construction barge?

The accident happened when a 19-foot speed boat with members of an upcoming wedding party crashed into a construction barge on the Hudson River. A 30-year-old bride to be and a 30-year-old best man were killed. Others on the boat were injured.

The 35-year-old skipper of the boat was charged with vehicular manslaughter. Authorities claimed he was intoxicated when he got behind the wheel, but two of the families involved say the crash was not a drunk-driving accident. They released a statement saying that the people aboard the boat were professionals in their 30s who had consumed little alcohol before taking off in the boat.

One person aboard the boat apparently said that no one could see lights on the barge. The families were asking other boaters on the river at the time to contact them.

Officials said that the warning lights on the barge were working when the crash happened. They have now added additional lighting. The barge had construction materials for a new bridge over the river.

The accident shows how complex tragic accidents can be. After a fatal accident - whether in a boat or a car accident - family members, law enforcement officials and others need answers. But motor vehicle accidents can be complicated, and the causes of a collision may not be immediately apparent. A thorough investigation into a motor vehicle accident can take time, but it is critical for a case.

Source: New York Daily News, "Families of Hudson River boating victims claims passengers didn't see barge, were sober in statement," Erik Badia and Larry McShane, July 31, 2013

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