National Transportation Safety Board releases report on Ethan Allen tour boat accident

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(Host)The National Transportation Safety Board has released the facts gathered in its investigation into last fall’s Ethan Allen Tour Boat tragedy.

Still to come is the agency’s report on why the Ethan Allen capsized on Lake George, causing 20 elderly tourists to drown.

VPR’s Susan Keese Reports.

(Keese) The voluminous report contains well over a thousand pages of witness and survivor interviews, technical documents and test data.

But there’s no analysis and no conclusions. A press release from the National Transportation Safety Board says that will come when the investigation is complete.

Agency spokesmen won’t say when that might be.

Warren County, New York District attorney Kate Hogan says if the report reveals anything, it’s that the NTSB investigation is thorough.

Eight months after the accident, the agency was still conducting tests.

(Hogan) There’s additional information that was generated in early June with respect to the modifications to the Ethan Allen.

(Keese) It’s been speculated that structural changes to the tour boat may have made it more unstable. The boat was never tested after a canvas awning was replaced by a wood and plexiglass canopy.

But a letter in the report from the New York State Department of Parks and Recreation suggests the Ethan Allen actually became safer after the wooden canopy was added.

But Hogan says it’s still too soon to say what caused the mishap.

(Hogan) And because of the magnitude of this event I think that it’s critical for everyone who’s involved to be thorough, comprehensive and careful with their conclusion. And so when I received the report I looked at it and knew it was something that I would make sure that I had completely reviewed and then incorporate their factual findings in making the ultimate decision this office is charged with making.

(Keese) Hogan’s office is still considering whether to call for a Grand Jury to determine whether charges should be filed.

For Vermont Public radio, I’m Susan Keese.

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