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New York Harbor Boat Crash Over Holiday Weekend Claims One Life

Jul 6, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

A boat collision over the weekend in New York Harbor killed one man, just weeks shy of his wedding date. Alcohol is believed to have played a role in the accident.

According to various media reports, Jijo Puthuvamkunnath, a 30-year-old physical therapist from Bergenfield, NJ, was killed Friday evening when his 17-foot Bayliner boat was struck by a 30-foot Pro-Line craft. Puthuvamkunnath’s vessel was anchored off Liberty Island at the time. The other boat, dubbed the “Reel Impulsive”, had just tried to maneuver across the wake of a speeding tourist boat.

According to the police, the Reel Impulsive was piloted by Richard Aquilone, 39, of Jersey City. Aquilone failed a blood alcohol test after the collision, police said.

Puthuvamkunnath was trapped inside his crushed vessel, and it took six police officers to free him. He was taken to Jersey City Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead as a result of head injuries. Two others aboard Puthuvamkunnath’s boat were also taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries.

A 45-year-old woman and three toddlers in Aquilone’s vessel were not injured, police said.

Aquilone was charged with vehicular manslaughter, operating a vessel under the influence and endangering the welfare of a child. He pleaded not guilty on Saturday.

Puthuvamkunnath was set to wed Sissy Chacko of Floral Park, Long Island, in August. According to a report on New, he had proposed with the assistance of a movie marquee at Merrick Cinemas on Long Island. “SISSY CHACKO WILL YOU MARRY ME” it read, for all on the street outside the theater to see.

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