Ethan Allen survivors discuss Lake George tragedy

Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the Lake George tragedy.

Twenty people lost their lives when the Ethan Allen tour-boat capsized a year ago. We have not heard from many of the survivors, most of them live in Michigan.

So we recently sent NEWS10’s Anya Tucker to Michigan to meet some of them and hear what they have to say.

You may have wondered what happened to the survivors of the Ethan Allen tragedy on Lake George. Well, just outside of Detroit, Michigan, many of them say they are moving on with their lives, one year later after that accident. But, they still have many nagging questions.

“It was very nice outside…basically, it was very nice,” says Ethan Allen survivor, Anna May Hawley.

“We were lucky that day because it was beautiful, and together were a lot of boats out that day,” Ethan Allen survivor Carol Marsh says.

“We were looking forward to getting together and having a good time, you know,” says Helen Niles, also a survivor of the Ethan Allen. “Didn’t turn out that way unfortunately.”

Helen Niles, Anna May Hawley and Carol Marsh say the tour on Lake George began with sunny weather, but also a dark and ominous sign.

“People started to board…they all went to the left, and the boat started to list to the left,” Niles says. “That surprised me, but it was the end of the trip, and I was just taking the ride I guess.”

But the women say the boat quickly righted itself when the captain told the passengers to spread out.

“Didn’t pay any attention,” says Hawley. “If we had known, that was a warning sign.”

That warning sign was enough for a few passengers to get off the Ethan Allen, and soon the tour started up.

It was only minutes later they all realized something was indeed terribly wrong.

“All of a sudden he makes this big turn…big turn,” Marsh says.

“And I thought to myself, oh my gosh, he better straighten this out…and didn’t even finish the thought,” says Niles.

“My arm was four-inches from the water and I could hear the people coming sliding across, and we were leaning and I threw my hands up, and all of a sudden, we are in the water…boom!” Marsh says.

“When I opened my eyes again, the boat is on top of me, and I was going like this, oh my god, what am it going to do now,” says Niles.

“I was getting some air, but I was also getting some water,” Hawley says. “And I was starting to get this pain, and I thought…well, I wasn’t afraid. And I thought, I am going to pull one more time and then I’m going to die…that’s just what went through my head.”

“I just keep going for more light…just follow the light,” says Marsh.

But when the survivors pull themselves to the surface, they discover new horrors on the overturned boat.

“We are hanging on to this ledge, and now they are pulling our feet,” Marsh says. “The ones who are underneath are trying to crawl up us still.”

“I heard people who were trapped under it calling for help,” says Niles. “I hung on with my one hand and reached underneath as far as I could. If I could have grabbed some hair or something, anything…my arms just weren’t long enough.”

All three women say almost every day they hear those voices and can not get the images out of their minds. All of them lost friends and loved ones, and the Ethan Allen tragedy forever changed their lives.

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