Three children died and 24 others had to be rescued after a yacht capsized late in the night off the coast of Long Island, New York
The group had been out watching fireworks in celebration of America’s July 4 public holiday.
It is not clear what caused the tragedy, although authorities are investigating whether it could have been due to the weather, overcrowding or a large wake from a passing boat.
After a long night search police divers found the bodies of a 12-year-old boy and two girls, one aged 11 and the other aged 8, in the cabin of the sunken boat.
None of the children had the same surname but it is unclear if they were related.
The passengers on-board were a combination of family members and their friends.
Police are also investigating whether the 34-foot yacht was properly equipped with life jackets, as required by law.
Children under-12 must wear a life jacket on board at all times, except while in the cabin.
A severe thunderstorm with winds of up to 40 mph crossed the area where the yacht was sailing late on Wednesday night.
Police said that neither the boat owner nor a second operator were suspected of being drunk while in charge of the vessel.
The surviving 24 passengers were rushed to nearby hospitals after being pulled from the water, and were later released.