Hudson River Ferry Crews Praised for Saving 9 Lives in Deadly Capsizing

New York City officials say a woman and child died after a boat capsized on the Hudson River, but added that quick-acting ferry crews saved the lives of nine of the vessel's passengers.

New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a press conference that the unidentified woman and 7-year-old boy were pronounced dead after being pulled out of the river by first responders. While authorities have yet to release details regarding the incident, Sewell said it could have been worse.

"This is a tragic day for New Yorkers," said Sewell. "Indeed, it may have well been worse were it not for the incredible effort by not only our own extraordinary first responders but also the swift response from New York Waterway ferries who rescued nine additional people from the water."

Hudson River in Manhattan
A woman and child died after a boat capsized in the Hudson River in New York City. Officials praised rescue crews for saving the lives of nine other passengers. Above, Liberty Cruise's The Manhattan sails in the Hudson as the sun sets across the skyline of Midtown Manhattan and the Empire State Building on July 7, 2022, as seen from Weehawken, New Jersey, across the river. Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

Sewell said both the NYPD and the city's Fire Department (FDNY) dispatched crews in response to a 911 call at 2:46 p.m. reporting an overturned vessel in the waters off Midtown Manhattan. The boat was reportedly launched from Weehawken, New Jersey, directly across the Hudson.

The NYPD Harbor Patrol arrived at Pier 86 at West 46th Street where they found the capsized boat and rescued two victims drifting by the boat, she said. Scuba divers dove into the water, bringing out the woman and boy who were declared deceased, she said.

NY Waterway, the regional ferry system, said in a tweet that ferry crews responded at 3 p.m. to reports of an overturned boat north of the Pier 79 Midtown ferry terminal. Two ferries, the Garden State and the John Stevens, "arrived on the scene and their crews rescued 9 passengers," according to NY Waterway.

"We are so proud of the NY Waterway captains and crews that leapt into action today to rescue boaters following the maritime accident in the Hudson," NY Waterway said in a follow-up tweet. "Their training and professionalism saved lives, as they have countless times before."

Acting FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said during the press conference that the deceased female was 50 years old. Additionally, she said two of the boat's passengers are in critical condition and another is "stable but critical" at the hospital. Another eight passengers are in stable condition, she added.

NYPD Assistant Chief James McCarthy told reporters the vessel was a jet boat rented by family and friends. The owner of the boat was on a jet ski behind it, he said. The NYPD has launched an investigation that'll look into the cause of the incident, including the capacity of the boat and how many passengers were on board when it capsized, he said.

"That's one of the big things that we're looking at right now," he said. "... You know we have to look. When we bring the boat up, we'll find out what was the capacity."

McCarthy said the two deceased victims were trapped underneath the boat when it capsized.

Inspector Anthony Russo, commanding officer of the NYPD Harbor unit, told reporters crews are working to upright the boat. While he said he couldn't give definitive answers about the cause of the crash, he said the Hudson River is always a dangerous place to operate a boat.

"There's a lot of commercial, recreational traffic during the day here," he said. "We also have a lot of people on jet skis, kayaks. We had the current, the wind. So you know you could have waves approaching from different directions ... It takes some skill to operate in the Hudson River."

Newsweek has reached out to the NYPD for comment.

Update 7/12/22, 8:25 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional background and information.