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Why Did a Sailing School Boat Head Out in Bad Weather?

6:31 PM, Jul 11, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- We've learned a sailing school owned the boat that took on water Wednesday night and started to sink because of a strong storm. 2 on your side is asking why the company called Seven Seas Sailing, made the judgement call to set sail in the first place - especially with two students on board.

You can still see the top of a white sail that's red flagged and being tossed around by waves in the outer harbor.

"At this time there's still an investigation and all of the evidence will be collected as far as what happened," Thomas D'Amore with the US Coast Guard said.

The U.S Coast Guard received a phone call Wednesday night that a small sailboat was starting to sink with 5 passengers on board, after taking on too much water and swamping.

"Wednesday there was a weather advisory and they made the decision to go out," D'Amore said.

Turns out those who made that decision are behind a sailing school.

A captain of Seven Seas Sailing set sail with 4 others on board. Two passengers were students.

We asked if the company felt it was a bad judgment call to have students out who may not be as familiar with the water.

"No not at all," Captain Ed Quinlan said. "They're advanced sailing students and they've been out several times before and learned a lot."

Captain Quinlan said the weather snuck up and changed quickly.

The boat set sail about 20 minutes before the company cancelled all sailing events at 6 pm.

For safety, the company test the boats 2 hours for every hour its out on the water.

The open style boat that swamped was not regularly used with students.

Moving forward, we asked the company if they plan on doing anything different for safety.

"We're going to site this in every classroom we have," Executive Director Bill Zimmerman of Seven Seas Sailing said. "We'll be proud to tell what the captain did with complete professionalism and the safety of his crew."

All five victims were wearing life vest and they were not injured.

The owner plans on pulling the sunken boat from the outer harbor soon and then salvaging it.

Moving forward, seven seas sailing does not plan on using this 'open style boat' in the future.

This is the first incident the companies had in forty years, where a boat has swamped or filled with a significant amount of water.

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