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February 23, 2006


Has anyone looked at the qualifications of the NY Boat Inspectors? As I remember they didn't need to be experienced in small passenger vessel operations. Has anyone looked at the Civil Service job posting requirements and the inspectors resumes? If these inspectors were even reasonably qualified how could they not know the boat was unstable and certified to carry way more passengers then normally allowed. The public relied upon the inspector's judgement ability. It wouldn't surprise me to find these were favortism hirings.

As to the "captain" he wasn't in any professional occupational sense. It's well known a captain's first responsibility is the safety of his ship and crew. This "captain" had little or no professioanl training, knowing left the dock without a required deckhand, failed to give the required safety lecture, knew the boat had stability problems, failed to check the bilge, handled the boat inappropriately, etc., etc., etc. He was just a guy who liked to get paid to operate a boat. In Admiralty Law there's a concept known as the " prudent mariner" which requires a captain to exercise proper prudent judgement. This guy had such a cavalier attitude about safety he wasn't prudent to the point of criminal negligence.

The points above also apply to the tour boat company managers. Their management oversight was negligent.

There's a point I don't think anyone has mentioned yet. If I remember correctly the New York regulations do state that the Coast Guard standards should apply as much as possible, so in essence tour boat operators were suppose to follow the Coast Guard standards. But no one in NY ever enforced this claus.

As to the Sheriff I am extremely suspicious. I was amazed when only an hour or so after the incident took place he was on TV saying there were no criminal actions. How could he know so soon? And later how could he issue a report that said anything different from his previous statement.

The truth is in the interest of the tourist dollar New York State had extremely lax laws and regulations, enforcement and unqualified personnel. Even the changes they've made in the regulations are still lax. I understand the issues about making people wear lifejackets but for the life of me I don't understand why a life raft wasn't required? And what about ring bouys?

The oxygen bottles probably dragged them down.

Here is a question, you say Mr. Paris had been doing this for a long time, if so then please explain why he did not notice the front of the boat sitting so low in the water. If you have taken the time to read any of the witness reports many people mentioned that they could see that the boat was sitting too low in the water...hmmmmm maybe that wasn't premeditated but wouldn't that mean Mr. Paris was negligent, especially if he was as "experienced" as you and many others have stated? Trust me, as a family member of two people that died in that accident repeatedly hearing that Richard Paris was an "experienced" captain is just a slap in our faces and a reminder that this tragedy should NOT have happened.
Now as far as the citizens of Lake George that took the time to help out that tragic day....THANK YOU!! I am well aware that there are many people that helped my family to be able to put my grandparents to rest, together. I wish I could take the horrific memories they must have unfortunatley no one knew just how wonderful my grandparents were. Their (the citizens and rescuers, and please do NOT put the sherriff into this category)caring and heroic actions have never went unoticed in my heart.

Dear Ron, most of us can not put ourselves in your shoes, but it seems you are a bit paranoid. This was a horrible tragedy, but it seems you feel as though there was some sort of intent or premeditaion to do harm. The NTSB is an outside neutral party who has performed extensive testing on this vessel. Let's for one second pretend Mr. Paris was intoxicated, I propose to you that the boat was unfit for the number of people and the boat was top heavy it would have rolled over anyway. From what I understand Mr Paris had been doing this for a long time and was very experienced. I personally feel the state regulations and inspection process was just as much to be at fault as Shorline Cruises. Shoreline, as far as I know, had know knowledge that this scenario was possible and Shorline figured its boat passed inspections so why make any changes. If they did, then there is your cover up. We hope that you and your family can realize that, yes, we are a small community, but we all want answers as much as you do so it never ever happens again on our beautiful lake.

If you want to help the image of warren county I would reccommend getting a new sherrif or having a completely neutral person from a different department talking to the indivduals during the investigation. The sheriff new the owners and the ships captain. Could he really give a nonbiased report when he personally new the idividuals of the case

You are actually hurting those who came to the rescue! They live here and support their families here. But since your family was not saved you want everyone to pay?! That is really harsh. All for a company whose owner doesnt live here. You really need to rethink your "nationwide boycott" or there will not be any people willing to help in emergencys only to find out they are hurt by it. Our community also grived over this tradgy, and we certinally did not cause this. Go after the owner of the company...He is responsible..not all of warren county..

I understand what he is going through also. I lossed a loved one. A person that was a very important part of my life is gone and nothing can bring her back, but you can not blame the whole community for the situation. A lot of the community was very wonderful what they did trying to save the victims and trying to comfort the survivors and families. We cant blame the whole community for the one or two bad apples of the bunch.

While I understand your pain and I grive for your loss. I truly can not understand the hatred you seam to feel for anyone living in warren county! I do live in Lake George and support my family here. I have never been on the Ethan Allen and do not do the tourist things with my children here yet you want to hurt all of warren county over your loss. Admititly I have not gone over the police report and do not know who should be held responsible other than the owner and I can certainly understand you wanting them to pay but for you to attack all of Lake George and Warren county businesses is hateful and wrong. Nothing can bring back those who were lost, and most likely you will bring more people here on the twisted fascination of tragedy that will not go away...

Regarding the Sheriffs weak report, the following is what I wrote to the Post-Star's Editor.

Dear Editor,

I am the son-in-law of William and Caryl Gilson who were killed in the Ethan Allen. I recently procured a copy of the report by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. I read it thoroughly. The entire report is written in a fashion of a “cover up”. One, for the Sheriff’s failure to take a breathalyzer and, or blood test on Richard Paris, and two because Mr. Paris was a retired State Trooper. Here is a good example of “cover up”.

The report points out, “The primary responsibility of the Sheriff’s Office was to complete a full and thorough Criminal investigation, etc., etc.” “Under New York State Penal Law, conduct may be criminal if it was carried out, intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence.” The Captain would fit into Knowingly, recklessly and criminal negligence. The owner would fit into Intentionally, Knowingly, Recklessly and Criminal Negligence.

The report also states, ”The primary responsibility of the Sheriff’s Office was to complete a full and thorough criminal investigation.” In the Sheriff’s personal report, he stated that he boarded the pontoon boat of James “Quick”, owner of Shore Cruises. He followed with,”Mr. Quirk had the pilot of the Ethan Allen, Richard Paris, on board with him and asked what he could do to help.” Now I ask you to please pay attention to the last few sentences and notice—James Quick and Mr. Quirk. Did this thorough and investigative Sheriff even read the report to make necessary corrections? My next question is how did he know James Quirk and Richard Paris, when he boarded the pontoon? Did he ask for identification, because, it is not reported? Thorough Report?

I wonder what would happen if a bus driver would have overturned in his Bailiwick , injuring all of the passengers. One--How would he know the driver? Two--Would he order a Breathalyzer test and, or a blood test? Again, I ask, how did he know James Quick—Quirk and Richard Paris? There is no explanation in the report as to how he knew their names He either knew both of them or one of them and denied knowing them, or when he asked them for ID’s found out that Richard Paris was a retired State Trooper. Now you understand the “cover up”. Whether he knew Richard Paris or whether he saw his ID, he protected Mr. Paris from criminal prosecution by not taking a Breathalyzer or a blood test. This is the Sheriff, who does complete and thorough criminal investigation.

Sheriff Cleveland sent the investigative report to District Attorney, Kathleen B. Hogan, who, bought into the Cover Up, and should have read the report thoroughly and recognize the errors and omissions by the Sheriff. Yet she proceeded not to prosecute anyone. Is this true justice, which exists in this country, whereby, the Law takes care of it’s own to vindicate its’ wrong doings and not care for the innocent victims?

At this point, regarding the Culpability as defined by the Penal Law, these two men are guilty –Intentionally, Knowingly, Recklessly and with Criminal negligence. Why? Well, here is a prime example. I work with power equipment, which is quite capable of causing some type of bodily injury, such as loss of vision, hearing, even to the loss of limbs. Every time I use power equipment, I use it, as if, it were my very first time. I keep myself aware of any and all the circumstances that could happen if the equipment failed or if I just rushed through a regular routine. When I am finished I clean my equipment and double Check it to assure that it is safe to operate again, because I know that if the machine fails or my awareness is not concentrated, any kind of injury could result.

In the Sheriff’s report, I read no mention of the safety of the Craft as indicated by the mechanics or technicians who would have been responsible to care for the fitness of operation of the Craft on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, did the owner do daily inspections? Also, when the boat was packed like a Sardine Can, Captain Paris just walked on to the Ethan Allen and began his voyage without inspecting the bilge or the pumps. Now I ask you, was this a thorough and complete investigative report or a Cover Up?

This is why, I am promoting a nation-wide boycott of tourism in Warren County, especially, Lake George.
Justice has not been served. If I can stop the flow dollars into Warren County and Lake George, then businesses will be hurting. People may lose their jobs, because of the loss of tourism.. Well, I least, I can say that it’s important to protect those most endearing to us, even though they were Killed in Warren County, Lake George, New York.

Ron Zdrojewski

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