Lawyer: Alcohol not factor in fatal boat crash

(AP) - Buoys to aid navigation in a twisting channelwhere a speedboat ran aground were either missing, damaged or outof position the night of the crash that killed three people andcritically injured four, an attorney for the boat's captain saidThursday.
The attorney, James Mercante, disputed police allegations thateither alcohol or speed played roles in the accident that killedpilot George Canni, 65, his wife and a friend.
"Without the buoys to navigate at night, you have no way ofdetermining if you are in the channel or out of the channel," saidMercante, an attorney for Canni's insurance company.
He added that Canni was an experienced mariner who had owned oroperated boats for more than 20 years and that his blood-alcohollevel was at the minimum threshold for boating while intoxicated.
Police have said that Canni was legally drunk and driving at"excessive speed" when he crashed the boat Oct. 4.
But Mercante said data he obtained from the U.S. Coast Guardindicated that two buoys were off station, two others were missingand a third was damaged the night Canni's 40-foot speedboat,carrying his wife and a group of friends, traversed the GreatIsland channel and ran aground on Goose Island, south ofMassapequa.