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Harshad Shah, 65, identified as victim of capsizing incident at Lockport Caves

LOCKPORT, NY – According to reports by 2 On Your Side, the victim of Monday’s capsizing at Lockport Caves has been identified as 65-year-old Harshad Shah. Shah grew up in Niagara Falls, although he was born in Baroda, Gujarat, India. While in Niagara Falls, Shah also served as President of the Budget Host Inn. As more information about Shah becomes available, reports of similar capsizes from the past are also beginning to surface. According to Lockport Mayor Michelle Roman, who spoke about the caves at a press conference on Monday, they have been “an attraction since the 1970s without incident.”

Sheri Scavone was devastated to find an event involving her son had been overlooked. Scavone revealed this happened in 2015 with a group of locals and their advisers at Baker Victory. The former Baker Victory, now called Our Lady of Victory Human Services, acknowledged the September 2015 incident. Similar to yesterday’s group, “they were on a cruise and the boat capsized,” Scavone explained. According to the statement, “the operator at the time literally swam away and did not return to help.”

According to Scavone, counselors have returned to help the children. “My child helped someone who couldn’t swim,” Scavone added. Scavone and a representative from OLV Human Services said emergency services were not called to the scene in September 2015. In a statement, Our Lady of Victory Human Services said: The incident at The Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Tours has been reported to OLV Human Services (formerly known as Baker Victory Services). Baker Victory workers and customers were involved in an incident in September 2015. No one was injured and we were able to keep tabs on the young people and their families who were affected by the tragedy. Our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected by this horrific tragedy.

Scavone claims her child has suffered from traumatic stress since the event in 2015. However, no action was taken against Lockport Caves & Underground Boat Tours at the time. The capsizing incident was not followed up by either OLV social services or the parents of the children involved. “At the time, we were convinced that the institution would do the right thing,” recalls Scavone. I had long meetings with the administrator, who assured me that similar discussions were taking place.
Scavone added that she and others were most worried about their children and how the trauma of the event might affect them in the long run.

Scavone admitted: “Again, maybe we should have taken it higher” in hindsight. While the cause of the fatal capsizing is investigated, the Lockport Caves and underground boat tours remain closed. In a message to WGRZ, relatives of Harshad Shah said: “Harshad Shah was a devoted father and husband. His wife has not yet recovered from the horror of seeing her husband murdered. Everyone wants to know what happened and why. Because of the death of Harshad Shah, our family will never be the same again.

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