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Reader Response - Regarding the Ethan Allen:

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*Friends of ours from Ann Arbor, Bud and Connie Tracy, were on that senior excursion, but were on the other boat, a sistership. Both boats were out on the water at the same time, but the boats did not travel together. My friends said they did not see the accident but did see all the emergency boats and wondered what was happening. They didn't learn of the accident until after returning from their cruise.

My friend Bud said that they boarded the boat over the stern and walked down the center between the rows of seats. When they were boarding, Bud's wife Connie made a comment then that the boat seemed "awful tippy."

At the end of the cruise, the Captain told them over a loudspeaker to "if you don't leave exactly as I tell you this boat will tip over". They went down the center of the boat and then over they stern to go ashore and as the Captain told them to.

The fact that the passengers could not board from the side and that the Captain would actually make such a statement shows that the operators knew there was a problem with their boats.

Bill Thomas Ann Arbor

 

*In all the report about the Ethan Allen Accident, I have not heard one word about the culpability of the owner of the large powerboat that caused the large wake which capsized the tour boat. It's my understanding of maritime law, that the skipper of the boat is responsible for the damage caused by his wake. I do not understand why a large powerboat would be doing on a small inland lake to begin with. Most small inland lakes have rules/laws about maximum horsepower allowed. It's my opinion that one extra crew on board the Ethan Allen would have made no difference at all to the outcome of this accident. There would have been one more person in the water trying to escape drowning. However, if all the elderly and handicapped passengers on this tour boat had been wearing life jackets, they probabaly would have all survived. There was no time to pull out the life jackets after the boat began to capsize.

Deborah K. Schaefer, Multihull Sailor, Port Clinton, OH



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Ms. Schaefer references "small inland lakes" in her comments. Having grown up on Lake George, I would not categorize it in this fashion. The lake is 32 miles long and over two miles wide in spots. During storms with a North wind I have seen 6' rollers and breaking whitecaps on the lake. Over the years there have been many tour boats on the lake exceeding 100' and many more in the 40 to 100' range. There did not used to be any speed or power limits on the lake and there were many boats capeable of 50 MPH plus. I am not aware if speed limits have been imposed in recent years. Lake George is most definitely not the kind of small inland lake with wake and speed restrictions. It is a sizeable body of water with very large craft and is capeable of producing very rough water. Hank Evans11/22/2005 10:25:13 AM
illusion
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