A tugboat pushing a barge on the Hudson River sank in a matter of minutes after it hit a stationary barge that is setup as part of the Tappan Zee Bridge construction. One crew member on the tugboat was killed and two tugboat crew members are missing and presumed dead.
According to MSN News on March 12, the collision of the tugboat, named the Specialist, and the barge happened in the pre-dawn hours on the Hudson. The tugboat collided with barge and sank almost instantly to the bottom of the Hudson at about 5:20 a.m. on Saturday. The 90-foot-long tugboat went down in about 40-feet of water killing crew member Paul Amon, 62, of Bayville, New Jersey, who is pictured above.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that the tugboat was on the West Nyack side of the bridge when it collided with the barge. The 21 crew members working on the stationary barge under the Tappan Zee Bridge saw the collision coming and were able to brace themselves. No injuries were reported from the work crew on the barge. It was dark, but the barge was “illuminated” at the time of the collision.
The Gothamist reports that the current was too strong to keep divers in the water yesterday. The divers started a search, but the current and water conditions were deemed unsafe and the underwater search was suspended. Plans call for the divers to go back into the water at around 10 a.m. on Sunday morning.
The Specialist was carrying 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel when it sank, leaking the fuel into the Hudson. Crews were on the scene quickly and contained the spill, with no long-term damage expected from the oil.
The search for the two missing crew members went on for hours on Saturday and was suspended last night. The Specialist is sitting on the bottom of the Hudson River with the search and recovery teams assessing the scene for safety before sending divers into the water on Sunday. They will search the sunken tugboat in hopes of recovering the bodies of the two missing crew members, but the strong current could have pulled the bodies of he missing crew members down the river toward the Atlantic, according to officials on the scene.
The names of the missing crew members have not been released as of yet. Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “”Sometimes people go to work and they don’t come home,” as the day went on yesterday and the hopes of finding the two missing crew members alive had faded. He also said to the reporters, “”Obviously this is just a tragedy, a tragic accident. There’s no point of speculating who did what…you have three people who left for work and aren’t going to come home.” The governor viewed the scene from a boat on Saturday as the search for the missing crew members was in full swing.
This is not the first time a barge anchored as part of the Tappan Zee construction site was involved in a deadly accident. Back in 2013 a boat crashed into a construction barge in the same area, killing a bride-to-be and the man who was to be the best man at her wedding. Lindsey Stewart and Mark Lennon, both 30, died as a result of that crash.