FBI Joins Probe of Sunken Oyster Bay Boat Deaths

Capsized Vessel
oyster bay
Two police boats are stationed near the opening to the Long Island Sound in Lloyd Harbor, N.Y., Saturday, July 7, 2012, not far from where a boat capsized on July 4.(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Nassau County police have enlisted the help of the FBI in raising the 34-foot boat that sank in Oyster Bay on the Fourth of July, killing three children.

Steven Skrynecki, the Chief of Department, said that the agency approached the FBI in aiding the investigation because they have the “best people available” to assure that the vessel is forensically preserved. The boat could be raised as early as Tuesday.

“The homicide squad is anxiously awaiting to look at the vehicle as they would a motor vehicle crash,” Skrynecki told reporters at a news conference Monday.

He said that a technical dive team from FBI headquarters in Quantico, Va. has already begun to examine the vessel. The divers have gathered evidence through video and sonar mapping samples of the boat, which is submerged nearly 70 feet below the surface.

“They will have a meeting to discuss the best methodologies to bringing the vessel to the surface,” said Skrynecki.

The plan will likely include attaching air bags to raise the vessel so it can be harnessed and eventually drained, he said. The boat will then be put onto a trailer and taken to a police facility for examination.

The vessel, named Kandi Won, had 27 people aboard it when it was capsized in Cold Spring Harbor after those aboard watched a fireworks display. The three children who died were trapped in the cabin when the boat went under.

Among the victims was David Aurelino, 12, of Kings Park, who was remembered Monday during a funeral service at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Northport.

His cousin, 11-year-old Harley Treanor of Huntington Station, and family friend, 8-year-old Victoria Gaines of Huntington, will have separate funerals Tuesday. Gaines was about to celebrate her 8th birthday.

Sal Aureliano, David’s uncle, who was reportedly at the helm at the time of the capsizing, told local news outlets that a wave hit the boat, causing it to overturn.

Police said that the two dozen survivors have been cooperating with the investigation.