Fatal Barge Accident Off Florida Coast
The United States Coast Guard has indefinitely closed the Fort Pierce Inlet on the east coast of Florida after a sunken barge took the life of an offshore worker. The inlet is 40 feet deep, but the 100 foot barge split in two and the wreckage has made the inlet significantly shallower. Until the wreckage is removed, the inlet is not safe for other boats to pass through.
The barge had three workers on it at the time it began to sink. While two of the workers made it off the barge and into a dinghy safely, the third was not able to escape in time. One of the surviving workers said that as the victim was attempting to evacuate, the barge snapped in two and the victim was sucked down into the hull. The Coast Guard took the two surviving workers back to shore safely and search for the victim. His body was eventually found about 3-4 miles off of the coast.
Barge Said to Be Unseaworthy
An official form the Coast Guard noted that the barge did not appear to be very seaworthy. It had several holes and needed two pumps running just to keep the water out. The barge was being towed by a boat at the time it began to sink. Click here to read more about unseaworthy vessels.