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June 25th, 2010

Two Fishermen Killed in Barge Accident in Tennessee

Investigations are going on into a barge accident in Tennessee this week that killed two fishermen. The two men were in a 16-foot motor boat that was T-boned by nine barges on the Tennessee River.

There were three men on the boat, and only one of them survived the accident. According to the survivor, they had been fishing on Saturday evening they came across a tug pulling nine barges. Just then, the engine of the fishing boat stalled. The fishermen did all they could to get the engine going again, but were not successful. They even tried to paddle their way out of harm’s way.  They yelled and screamed trying to get the attention of anyone on the boat to alert them to their condition.

But there was no escaping what came next. The barges rammed into the fishing boat, trapping the three men underneath. Only one of them was able to crawl his way out and back to the surface. The other two were not as lucky.

The US Coast Guard is investigating the accident. The agency is specifically looking at whether the barge operator could have done anything to prevent this accident. Coast Guard investigators are looking at each barge, and combing through debris to look for clues. They are also interviewing the tugboat crew. The crew members say they never saw the fishing boat. The surviving fisherman insists that the operators never blew a horn to warn the fishing boat of danger. Operators are required to blow a horn to warn others of an impending collision. For now, the tug crew members are sticking to their version of events – they never saw any fishing boat.

We will have to wait till the Coast Guard completes its investigation to find out what exactly happened here. In the meantime, our deepest condolences go out to the families of the two men here.

The maritime lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent injured barge tugboat operators, fishing vessel crew members, cruise liner crew members, offshore and oil rig workers and other maritime workers in maritime accidents off the Coast of Texas and worldwide.

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