Weight might have been factor in capsizing of N.Y. tour boat


Nation Digest

October 05, 2005

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. -- Just days before a tour boat capsized in the Adirondack Mountains, killing 20 elderly people, the Coast Guard began rethinking its passenger-weight calculations to take into account Americans' expanding waistlines.

At the time it flipped over, the 38-foot Ethan Allen was just under its capacity of 48 passengers - a figure that was arrived at by using a New York standard that assumes a 150-pound average for each man, woman and child, authorities said.

The U.S. Coast Guard standard assumes a 140-pound average for each person.

Investigators looking into the accident have said that too much weight could have been a factor and suggested those standards might have to be revised because Americans are getting heavier.

Yesterday, the acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said investigators would conduct tests today to see how the Ethan Allen would have handled while carrying its maximum load of 50 people using a 160-pound-per-passenger calculation.

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