CHICAGO (CBS) — Authorities on Thursday released new information about what investigators are focusing on following a deadly boat accident on the Chicago River.
A 7-year-old boy died after the boat he was in capsized in the accident Wednesday evening.
As CBS 2’s Chris Tye reported, beaches are closed, river use is up, and so are water levels. It heightens risk on the water. Just after 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night, things got risky, and then deadly, on the South Branch of the river near Chinatown.
The boy who died was identified as 7-year-old Victor Lobato of Little Village.
“He was recovered on the marine boat without a life jacket on, so it could have come off. It’s still under investigation,” said John Huber of the U.S. Coast Guard.
The child was taken to Mercy Hospital where he died overnight. Thursday morning, the boat was still in the water near 18th street in Chinatown.
Registered to Indiana, state officials there tell CBS 2 the registration expired five years ago. But questions remain.
Why were nine people were aboard a boat that small?
“The boat was definitely over capacity,” Huber said.
Why did it appear that everyone at the scene last night wasn’t in a life jacket, particularly the young people aboard? The law states anyone 13 years old and younger must wear life vest.
And the third issue deals with the wake of a passing tug and barge that’s said to have capsized the family cruiser.
“It’s a violation. One to cause a wake on the Chicago River and two, obviously, this is going to be a criminal allegation if it turns out any vessel caused this wake.”
The U.S. Coast Guard said the rule on wakes in the Chicago River is no wave height that will cause a disturbance to other vessels. Boats are recommended to keep their speed between five and six knots.
The person captaining the boat with the nine people aboard owned that boat with expired tags. Several agencies investigating different parts of this. Among them: the Illinois Conservation Police, looking into what vessels were nearby when the boat capsized and whether there is negligence by that captain that lead to the boat flipping over.