Cause of Fatal Tugboat Accident Unknown

The day after the body of a missing crewmember was found the Coast Guard hopes to raise a submerged tugboat from the Houston Ship Channel today in order to determine why it sank. Pat Hernandez has the story.

The tugboat JR Nichols went down Wednesday with 5-people aboard near the turning basin at Sims Bayou. The body of one crewmember who died in the accident was recovered late Thursday.

Prentice Danner:  "Now that the search and rescue and loss of life issue is past us, we're trying to get the ship raised to get the channel opened."

That's Coast Guard Petty Officer Prentice Danner. He says surviving crew members from the 56-foot tug owned by Kinder Morgan and crews from other boats near the scene are being interviewed in order to piece the
events that lead to the fatal accident.

"Not just loss of life but also, get the ship out of the way because the shipping channel is closed because of it and, there's spew oil in the vessel that's an issue as well, but it's minimal impact on the shipping channel so far."

Petty Officer Danner says the spill is contained in the immediate area of the accident. The vessel was returning to base when it sank.

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...