Search Resumes for 2 Missing Crewmembers in NY Tugboat Crash

NEW YORK (AP) -

Divers went back into the waters of the Hudson River on Sunday looking for two tugboat crew members who are missing after a deadly crash.

The two men, who weren’t identified, were presumed dead after the 90-foot tugboat Specialist hit a barge around 5:20 a.m. Saturday and sank, killing a fellow crew member and spilling about 5,000 gallons of fuel into the water north of New York City.

During Saturday afternoon’s search, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sounded a stark note.

“Sometimes people go to work and they don’t come home,” he said.

Numerous agencies searched the waters near the construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge, including the U.S. Coast Guard and New York State Police.

Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino identified the dead crewman as Paul Amon, 62, of Bayville, New Jersey.

Cuomo said he spoke to the family of one of the missing crew members Saturday.

“This is a 29-year-old who had his whole life ahead of him. He was supposed to come home but was working a few more days because the company asked him to, and now it’s doubtful he’ll come home at all,” Cuomo said.

State Police divers began searching for the missing crew members about 12 hours after the crash. Earlier in the day, they used sonar equipment to determine the exact location of the sunken tug to assess whether it was safe to send divers.

Authorities said three tugboats were pushing a barge from Albany to Jersey City, New Jersey, when one of the three — situated on the right side as it headed south — hit a stationary barge that was part of the Tappan Zee Bridge construction project.

A tugboat on the left side of the barge being pushed, as well as one pushing the barge from the rear, were not involved in the accident.

Cuomo said in a statement that 21 workers were on the bridge construction barge that was hit, but none were injured.

The accident occurred near the center of the existing Tappan Zee Bridge, and the Specialist sank in about 40 feet of water within minutes, authorities said. The water temperature in the area was about 40 degrees, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Cuomo said a team from the state Department of Environmental Conservation was on site with a private contractor and were deploying booms to contain the leaking diesel fuel. He said he did not expect any long-term damage as a result of the spill.

A spokeswoman for Tappan Zee Constructors, a consortium of companies building the new bridge, said the company is cooperating in the investigation.