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  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

Cave Boat Accidents

There is plenty of fun to be had in the Big Apple, but New York State also offers more relaxing types of recreation beyond the five boroughs. The many waterways of New York, from the Hudson River to Lake Erie, are an ideal location for scenic boat rides and fishing trips. If you are in the mood for a boat ride not characterized by wide open spaces, you can even ride a cave boat through Lockport Cave, an artificial cavern in Niagara County. Cave boat rides in Lockport Cave and, by extension, in any of the other caves in New York are about to get safer. New York has introduced a new bill to prevent aquatic spelunking accidents. If you have been injured in a cave boat accident, contact a New York trip and fall accident lawyer.

Family Sues State of New York After Man Gets Trapped Under Cave Boat

In June 2023, Harshad-Kumar Shah of Niagara Falls took a cave boat ride through Lockport Cave. The cave boat attraction was operated by governmental entities. The boats are designed to hold up to 40 passengers. During the ride, the boat overturned, and all 29 people onboard fell into the 60-degree water. Rescuers responded to an emergency call and breached a wall of the cave in order to reach the boat tour participants within minutes. 28 of the 29 occupants were able to wade to safety with the help of rescuers. They were taken to the hospital, where they were diagnosed with treatable injuries such as bone fractures and hypothermia. Meanwhile, Shah was trapped under the boat, and it took rescuers more than an hour to rescue him, and he died as a result of the accident. He was 65 years old.

The family of Harshad-Kumar Shah filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Lockport, Niagara County, and the state of New York. They allege that negligent operation and inspection of the cave boat caused Shah’s death. In 2015, a man died in Lockport cave in a similar incident.

The Cave Safe Bill

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has proposed the Cave Safe Bill, which would increase safety regulations for cave boats in the state of New York. The bill would require annual inspections of cave boats that operate in caves on public or private land. It would also require inspectors to shut down cave boat attractions until all unsafe boats have been repaired or replaced. Other provisions of the bill include a prohibition on drinking alcohol while cave boating and a requirement to report all injuries, collisions, and boat capsizing incidents to law enforcement and to New York State Parks. The Cave Safe bill would make it a criminal misdemeanor to operate a cave boat that had been deemed unsafe or that had not been inspected in more than a year.

Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda About Premises Liability Cases

A premises liability lawyer can help you if you suffered a serious injury as a result of an accident involving a tour boat attraction. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC in Brooklyn, New York, or call (212)671-1110 to discuss your case.


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