NYACK – State Police divers continued to search the Hudson River at the Tappan Zee Bridge late Sunday for one man who remains missing following Saturday’s deadly crash between a tugboat and a stationary barge at the site of the new Tappan Zee Bridge.
One body was recovered immediately after the accident and Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that a second body was also recovered.
“The Tappan Zee barge was stationary,” Cuomo said. “It was `secured and it had been there for a period of time. Apparently the tug that was coming down with the barge heading south towards the bridge, from the north, knew that they were too close. There were reports of radio transmissions from the tug on the right that said, ‘We are too close. We have to move left,’ but, they couldn’t move in time and sometimes it’s just that, just an accident.”
First notification of the collision was received at 5:20 a.m. Saturday shortly after the 84-foot tugboat “Specialist” struck the barge and sank with three people aboard. Coast Guard Station New York launched a 45-foot response boat to search for the three people in the water. Ten minutes later, the one man was pulled from the water by a first responder.
Tappan Zee Constructors, the builders of the new bridge, had a crew of 21 workers on their barge at the time; none were injured when the tugboat struck.
After striking the barge the tugboat began leaking up to 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel, creating a fuel slick some 100 yards wide and five miles long.
Local law enforcement deployed a fuel-containing apparatus to the water due to a visible sheen. Westchester has initiated a cleanup agreement with a private company, Miller Environmental Group, to manage the diesel spill with a state Department of Environmental Conservation oil spill team on the scene to monitor and support the cleanup.
Cuomo said the state will conduct “a full investigation to understand exactly what led to [Saturday’s] events and provide more information s it becomes available.”
Officials have identified Paul Amon, 52, of Bayville, N.J., as the first deceased man recovered from the tugboat and Timoth Conklin, 29, of Westbury, L.I., as the second.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day said Saturday that a deadly tug boat accident on the Hudson River shows how dangerous work on massive projects like the new Tappan Zee Bridge can be.
“As work on the new span continues, we must be assured that an incident like this never happens again,” Day said after learning of the 5 a.m. incident a the bridge this morning. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and the brave first responders involved in the difficult rescue and recovery,” Day said.
The tug boat crash at the bridge set off a massive search and rescue effort that included emergency crews from both sides of the Hudson River, including volunteer firefighters from Central Nyack, Nyack, Piermont, Thiells and Tarrytown. A helicopter from the New York City Police Department also assisted.
Clippings from www.midhudsonnews.com and Nyack Free Press