OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (WNBC) - Three children died and 24 other people were rescued after being pulled from the Long Island Sound after their yacht capsized on the Fourth of July, Nassau County police say.
The cause of the capsize is under investigation, though officials believe weather, overcrowding or a massive wave from the wake of another boat may have been factors.
Authorities said the group of family members and friends were returning from a fireworks display when their boat capsized and began sinking in Oyster Bay.
Nassau County Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lack says two of the children were recovered from inside the sunken yacht after a long overnight search.
Another was pulled from the water Wednesday night.
The victims were identified Thursday as David Aurelino, 12; Harley Treanor, 11; and Victoria Gaines, 8.
A special marine warning was in effect for that particular area of the Long Island Sound late Wednesday night.
Radar captured between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. showed a severe thunderstorm crossing Oyster Bay with winds of up to 40 mph.
Two people were operating the boat, and investigators say there is no evidence they were intoxicated at the time of the accident.
The U.S. Coast Guard says survivors were pulled from the water around 11 p.m. Wednesday, about an hour after the 34-foot Silverton yacht capsized.
All 27 passengers had been in the water at one point, police said.
Most of them were taken aboard other crafts very quickly, he said.
Police say the rescue operation was hampered by the number of victims in the water, the time of day and the number of boats out celebrating the holiday.
Lack says some but not all passengers had been wearing life jackets.
Nassau police detective John Azzada said investigators would look into whether there were enough life jackets on the yacht for all the passengers, which is required.
Anyone younger than age 12 is required to wear a life jacket whenever outside the boat's cabin, Azzada added.
Further investigation of the boat, a recent purchase, is difficult at this time, Azzada said. The Silverton yacht began sinking in about 20 feet of water inside Cold Spring Harbor, but drifted out and is now 60 feet underwater three miles off the coast of Oyster Bay, authorities said.