Tugboat Sinks In Hudson: One Dead, Two Missing In River Tragedy

Earlier today, north of New York City, a tugboat crashed into a barge while traveling on the Hudson River. The tugboat tragedy left one person dead and two others missing. Paul Amon, of Bayville, New Jersey, was identified as the man who died in the accident. The two that are missing are presumed to be dead. Their identities have not been made public.

Due to the crash, the tugboat sank and 5,000 gallons of fuel was leaked into the Hudson River. Authorities from Westchester and Rockland Counties, along with the U.S. Coastguard, assisted in the search for the two missing people.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo states that the State Police are using sonar technology in order to figure out the exact location of the tugboat, now at the bottom of the river. Cuomo has also stated that police are still trying to determine if there are any risks to sending divers into the Hudson in order to try and find the two that are missing. Based on a statement given by Governor Cuomo, divers will be looking for bodies to recover instead of survivors.

“You have three people who left for work and who aren’t going to come home.”

According to authorities, three tugboats were pushing a barge from Albany to Jersey City. A distance of 150 miles. The tugboat that sank was situated on the right side of the barge when it crashed into a stationary barge that was being used as part of the Tappan Zee Bridge reconstruction project. No damage occurred to the other two tugboats. At the time of the collision, 21 construction workers, working on the bridge, were on top of the stationary barge. It is believed that the construction workers were aware that they were about to be hit by the tugboat and they braced for the impact. None of them were injured. It has also been stated that the barge was properly lit up due to the accident happening so early in the day.

The tugboat collision took place almost directly below the center of the Tappan Zee Bridge. The depth of the water in that part of the Hudson River is said to be 40-feet deep. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the water temperature for this time of year is very cold at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The tugboat was said to have sunk within minutes.

Due to the ecological disaster of the 5,000 gallons of fuel that spilled into the Hudson, a team was dispatched to the site from New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation. The team from the DEC were putting booms into the Hudson in order to contain the fuel. Governor Cuomo does not believe that there will be any “long-term damage” to the Hudson.

James Mercante, an attorney representing the owner of the sunken tugboat, has come out to comment on the tragedy. Mercante states that the members operating on the tugboat were properly licensed, experienced, and understood their job.

“It’s a shocking, horrific marine tragedy. Right now the company is more concerned with the families of the crew and mourning.”

The area of the tugboat crash is not new to tragedy. In 2013, a boat crash killed Lindsey Stewart, a bride to be, and Mark Lennon, the best man of Lindsey’s fiancee. Like the tugboat, their boat crashed into a stationary barge being used for construction on the Tappan Zee Bridge. An investigation after the crash led to the stationary barge having to add more lighting to provide proper illumination.

Construction on the Tappan Zee Bridge began in 2013 and is expected to be completed in 2018.

[Image Via AP Photo/Seth Wenig]