3 Tugboat Sailors Dead, 1 Missing
5 Injured in Naval Helicopter Crash
A tugboat and three barges sank Sunday after being swept over a dam spillway on the Ohio River by currents made stronger by heavy rains, killing three crew members. One person was missing and believed to be aboard the sunken boat. The tug, named the Elizabeth M, was pushing six coal barges north on the river when it went through the lock at the Montgomery Island Dam about 2:30 a.m. After it emerged on the other side, strong currents pushed the boat back against the dam. Officials believe the barges were then pushed by the currents into the tug, forcing it through a gate in the dam. The tug sank in the churning water below the dam. Officials believe three of the barges sank downriver, while the other three barges sank above the dam. The deceased Sailors were identified as Scott Stewart, 36, of Wheeling, W.Va.; Tom Fisher, 25, of Latrobe, Pa.; and Edward Crevda, 22, of West Brownsville, Pa. The river normally flows at about 3 to 4 mph, but the current was about 10 to 15 mph Sunday because of recent rains and flooding, said John Anderson, the lockmaster. The Coast Guard has restricted traffic along five miles of the Ohio River near the dam. There had been no restrictions when the accident occurred. Authorities didn't immediately release the names of the injured Sailors or the missing one. Officials said they would attempt to reach the missing Sailor Monday, provided the water levels have receded. This week-end has been a Awful one for Mariners. As the world has just witnessed with the South Asian tsunami, The SEA (as well as her sisters the rivers and the lakes) is unforgiving! And my heart goes out to all of the men and women who attempt to tame her. Especially those Sailors who fall to her hectic whims!
The SKY has not been any more considerate to our Flying Sailors. A U.S. Navy helicopter with 10 people on board crashed near Banda Aceh's airport Monday while on a tsunami relief operation. The helicopter was flying in personnel to the airport from the USS Abraham Lincoln group off the coast of Sumatra. At least five US servicemen were injured in the chopper crash, said a US military spokesman.It crashed into a rice paddy not far from its normal landing site. US authorities said there was no indication the helicopter had been shot down. "We can not rule out ground fire, but until there is investigation the determination of the cause of the accident can't be made."
So Once again to all those Sailors: May you have Fair Winds, and Following Seas, and long may your Big Jib draw!