A lot of questions remain about Thursday's fatal boating accident on Oneida Lake. What we do know is that a father and two of his sons are dead, and a third is injured after their boat collided with a concrete buoy. Our Sarah Blazonis talked to authorities trying to piece together what caused the deadly collision.
SYLVAN BEACH, N.Y. -- All Friday morning, rescue boats drove by Sylvan Beach Pier on their way to the middle of Oneida Lake. They were looking for three boaters who had been missing since Thursday night. Just before 8 a.m. Friday, those boats returned with sad news.
"Three men were killed and one survived in a boating accident that occurred at about 10:45 p.m. here at Oneida Lake. The three who were killed were a father and his two sons," said Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol.
It took more than eight hours, but crews had recovered the bodies of Anthony Aceto, 66, of Utica, as well as his sons, Stephen Aceto, 41, of Tampa, Florida, and Timothy Aceto, 33, of Deerfield.
A third son, Anthony J. Aceto, 39, of Whitesboro was pulled from the water by friends in a nearby boat.
The four men were thrown into the lake following an accident at about 10:45 p.m. Thursday. Officials say they weren't wearing life vests.
"The men were traveling on the lake heading back to Sylvan Beach when their boat struck buoy 113, which is about five miles west of Sylvan Beach," said Sheriff Maciol.
It's unknown who was driving the boat, or whether alcohol or speed played a role.
One thing vacationer John Chanatry says he knows is how dangerous the lake can be at night. He says he grew up in Utica and often visited and boated on Oneida Lake.
"At night, it's very dark out there, so if you're driving at night it could be very dangerous if you don't see obstacles that you could come upon very quickly," said Chanatry, who stopped to watch some of the police activity at the pier Friday morning.
Officials say the men did have lights in the boat, but didn't know if they were in use at the time of the accident. The Coast Guard says they were driving a 24-26 foot baja, a type of boat that's tiny and built for speed.
"If you're in a boat and you're in a speed boat, you could come across that buoy very quickly, and before you know it, you're right at it," said Chanatry.
Authorities say they'll continue to investigate at the crash site, and it may be several days before they find the answers they're looking for.