Thursday, August 6, 2009

Father and Son Die in Water Tragedy

A father and son who shared their mutual love for the water died over the weekend after the wave runner they wer aboard crashed into a dock in a Lawrence waterway.

Roopnarine Gopaul died at the scene on Saturday around 5:15 pm, his son Christopher passed away at the hospital early Sunday morning.

Gopaul was described by family members as a devoted father and not one to be careless. He came to New York 20 years ago from Guyana and settled with family members in Richmond Hill until 9 years ago.

The father of two lived with his wife Renuca, daughter Kayla and son Christopher in their home in South Jamaica.

Michelle Singh, a niece, said it was her family that Gopaul lived with when he first came to the states. “He was always careful.,especially about driving things. He didn’t even have so much as one ticket.”

Police say the accident happened after Gopaul apparently lost control of the watercraft. They are still investigating the accident but criminal charges do not seem likely.

Gopaul was the eldest son in a close-knit family of seven children and was remembered as a family member who “would always be there.”

According to state law operators of personal watercraft are required to hold a boating safety certificate, obtained after passing an eight-hour boating safety course. It’s also required that operators slow to no more than 5 mph if they are within 100 feet of a dock.

It is not yet known how fast he was going or whether Gopaul had a certificate. They have impounded the craft for a safety test.

Family members would not release information about services because of privacy concerns.

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