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  • WETM 18 News

    Gov. Hochul signs oversight bill stemming from fatal Lockport Cave incident

    By Evan Anstey,


    BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill Friday stemming from a fatal incident just over one year ago at the Lockport Cave, in which a boat capsized and resulted in the death of a 65-year-old Niagara Falls man .

    The summary of Senate Bill S9241 and Assembly Bill A10399 states that it “Provides that the inspector shall at least annually inspect any vessel operated on privately or publicly owned underground non-navigable waterways with no navigable inlet or outlet that carry passengers for compensation; makes technical corrections; makes related provisions.”

    Eleven others were injured in the incident last June, and a day later, the underground attraction was deemed unsafe because of electrical issues.

    No criminal charges were filed as a result, with the Lockport Cave later reopening in August for walking tours.

    The New York State Senate and Assembly later passed legislation to require annual inspections of boats operated underground. With this, the state’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation would be the agency responsible for oversight.

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    Wednesday in Lockport, New York State Sen. Rob Ortt and Assemblymembers Mike Norris and Angelo Morinello discussed the legislation’s passage and called for Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature.

    “In the course of the investigation of this tragic incident, it came to light that there is no state agency tasked with overseeing these types of attractions,” Ortt said. “One of my top priorities this legislative session was to change that.

    “The signing of this legislation now ensures a state agency clearly has oversight and responsibility for inspecting the vessels used in one of the most unique attractions along the Erie Canal, closing a gap in coverage discovered following last year’s tragic incident. I’d like to thank the Governor for championing this important bill and signing it into law so promptly.”

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