Infamous Ethan Allen involved in fatal Lake George accident for sale

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The memory of the tragedy of the Ethan Allen capsizing that killed 20 tourists is still fresh in many people’s minds. Now the boat is up for sale.

The Village of Lake George Mayor Robert Blais says the accident remains a painful memory for many. “It was lasting and it will be lasting,” said Blais.

Twenty people, many of them elderly tourists from Michigan, died after the pleasure boat overturned on Lake George in 2005. Sixteen-and-a-half years after that tragic day, the Ethan Allen is up for sale.

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NEWS10’s Anya Tucker asked Mayor Blais if he would ever want to see the boat on Lake George ever again.
His response? An affirmative “No.”

The ad for the infamous boat grabbed the attention of the Chronicle newspaper in neighboring Glens Falls, which was first to report the listing. Many readers posting comments expressing disgust over the idea of any sale.

“What a shame to just let a class boat like that just disappear,” said John Panzella, the boat’s current owner.

He told Anya that he purchased the boat for $12,000 intending to add it to his riverboat business in Newburgh. But he never ended up using the boat for customers.

He’s said he put a lot of money into fixing the boat and is now listing the boat through a broker for nearly $50,000. Anya asked Panzella if he feels the boat is now safe. “Oh, there’s no question about it,” he replied.

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An investigation concluded the boat was dangerously unstable, mostly due to an after-market hard top which had altered the boats center of gravity. Panzella says he had the boat fully restored and that he replaced the old hard top with a new lighter weight aluminum one.

He insists, whether for good or bad, the boat has historical significance.

Asked if he understands why some people may not want the boat on the water due to its tragic history, Panzella said, “Well, yeah. Some people would think that. But [not] a real boater that knows boats and knows that things happen on the water.”

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