The Coast Guard was searching for a missing crewmember on the Kanawha River after a 67-foot towing vessel sank Monday near Winfield, West Virginia.  Two crewmembers were aboard the towing vessel Misty Dawn when the vessel sank near the edge of the navigational channel around mile 37 of the Kanawha River.  One crewmember safely swam to shore. The area was being heavily searched by multiple agencies in the hopes of rescuing the remaining missing crewmember who was sadly later found dead in the boat’s wheelhouse.  Authorities have identified the victim as Greg Smith of Catlettsburg, Kentucky.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and co-workers at this time of mourning.

This major commercial waterway in West Virginia remains closed as Coast Guard crews deal with a sunken tow boat.  Since the boat sank in the middle of the river, barges can’t pass.  At least eight barges have been halted because of the accident.

The Misty Dawn had approximately 4,000 gallons of fuel on board.  Visible oil in the water has been reported as far as half-a-mile downriver from the sunken vessel.  The Coast Guard has a pollution assessment team on scene to assess the situation.

The Kanawha River has been closed to vessel traffic to allow adequate time for pollution response and salvage operations. The cause of the incident is under investigation.

If you or someone you know needs information about representation in a case of maritime personal injury or wrongful death, please contact our offshore injury law firm at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers  today.  We care about our clients and the safety of the men and women working on our nation’s waterways.  You can click here to submit a confidential email to our team of maritime expert attorneys.