*Correction: Our initial report stated the boat was dangerously unstable, mostly due to an after-market hard top that altered the boat’s center of gravity. Upon further review of the NTSB investigation report the probable cause of the incident showed it was the vessel’s insufficient stability to resist the force of oncoming waves, a sharp turn, and the shift of passengers to the port side of the boat. We apologize to Scarano Boatbuilding.
LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The memory of the tragedy of the Ethan Allen capsizing that killed 20 tourists is still fresh in many people’s minds. Now the boat is up for sale.
The Village of Lake George Mayor Robert Blais says the accident remains a painful memory for many. “It was lasting and it will be lasting,” said Blais.
Twenty people, many of them elderly tourists from Michigan, died after the pleasure boat overturned on Lake George in 2005. Sixteen-and-a-half years after that tragic day, the Ethan Allen is up for sale.
NEWS10’s Anya Tucker asked Mayor Blais if he would ever want to see the boat on Lake George ever again.
His response? “Personally, no.” He added that the Ethan Allen name and the iconic look of the former pleasure cruise watercraft would likely bring back too many bad memories.
The ad for the infamous boat grabbed the attention of the Chronicle newspaper in neighboring Glens Falls, which was first to report the listing. Many readers posting comments on the newspaper’s Facebook page expressing disgust over the idea of any sale.
“What a shame to just let a class boat like that just disappear,” said John Panzella, the boat’s current owner.
He told Anya that he purchased the boat for $12,000 intending to add it to his riverboat business in Newburgh. But he told her that he never ended up using the boat for customers.
He’s said he spent around $40,000 into fixing up the boat and that he listed the boat through a broker for $49,900. Anya asked Panzella if he feels the boat is now safe. “Oh, there’s no question about it,” he replied.
The NTSB investigation into the Ethan Allen incident determined that based on after-market modifications, the boat was only rated to carry 14 people, when in reality it was loaded with 48 passengers. The report noted the boat never had a stability reassessment after a wooden canopy was installed because there was no clear requirement to do so. Panzella says he had the boat fully restored and that he replaced the old hard top with a new lighter weight aluminum one.
He insists, whether for good or bad, the boat has historical significance. And he is hoping that someone will make his dream come true by purchasing the boat and giving it a new life and future.
Asked if he understands why some people may not want the boat on the water due to its tragic history, Panzella said, “Well, yeah. Some people would think that. But [not] a real boater that knows boats and knows that things happen on the water.”