Yacht Capsizes At 4th of July Celebrations - Killing Three Children

An Independence Day celebration on the Long Island Sound turned tragic as a yacht packed with passengers capsized, killing three kids. INSIDE EDITION has the story.

Small town fireworks lit up the nightsky over Oyster Bay, Long Island, outside New York City. The water was jammed with people on board pleasure boats enjoying the traditional July 4th celebration.

No one could have expected the disaster that was about to happen.

INSIDE EDITION's Deborah Norville recounted what she saw. "I was out here on a boat with family and friends watching the fireworks which were coming from a barge that is still out there on the water. Right about the time the show ended there were flashes of lightning, putting every boat out here at risk. Almost immediately, it seemed everyone was pulling anchor and setting sail all at once, and in the midst of all that mayhem, the heavens opened up, a torrential downpour. It was really scary and it was at that moment that the 34-foot yacht, with an astounding 27 people on board, capsized right out here."

Three children perished in the boating accident. One of them, a cute little red head, Harley Treanor, was just 11 years old. The other victims included a 12-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl.

Police held a press conference Thursday morning where Detective John Azzata said, "We're looking at several avenues, one of which would be overcrowding on the boat. There was 27 people on this boat. That was a combination of adults and children."

Capacity for a boat like that is reportedly only around 15 people. Almost twice that many were aboard to watch the fireworks.

Harley Treanor and the two other victims were found in the boat's cabin. They were not wearing life jackets—which is required for kids under 13—unless they are in a cabin.

Investigators want to know if there were enough life jackets for all 27 people on board.

INSIDE EDITION recently patrolled Long Island Sound with the U.S. Coast Guard as part of their operation to raise boat-safety awareness this summer.

The Coast Guard said wearing life jackets is one of the most important precautions boaters should take, though it's not clear it would have helped in the 4th of July tragedy.