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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

Fatal Tugboat Crash in Hudson River

On the Hudson River, just north of NYC, a tugboat has run into a barge causing the death of one crew member and has led to the disappearance of two others.

The 90-foot-long tugboat called “Specialist” struck the barge not far from the Tappan Zee construction project, which will link two counties lying north of NYC. The tugboat sank instantly, leaving behind fuel amounting to 5,000 gallons.

Immediately after the tragic event, the U.S. Coast Guard, accompanied by other concerned agencies, spent much of the rest of the day searching for the two crew members, but with no success. The search was called off at sunset. Paul Amon, 62, was named as the dead crew member, while the two missing have yet to be identified.

One of the missing crew was reported to be only 29 years old and was putting in some extra hours at the request of his employer.

At the time of the accident, there were three tugboats involved in pushing a barge from the city of Albany to Jersey City, when the one situated on the right hand side of the barge struck another barge that was stationary and was playing a role in the bridge construction project. Fortunately, the 21 workers who were working on the stationary barge escaped injury as they were given sufficient time to brace themselves for the impact.

At this time of year, rescuers have to deal with waters of only 40 degrees, which means divers have to take special care not to become exposed to hypothermia.

So far, there is no indication as to what caused the collision, as the crew of the “Specialist” were described as not only licensed crewmen, but they were experienced and good at their jobs.

This is not the only time there has been a boating tragedy in this area, as some members of a wedding party were killed in similar conditions in 2013. Their families are still fighting for justice by filing lawsuits against a number of construction companies that contributed to the tragedy.

No doubt a thorough investigation will be carried out soon, as so many people may have been lost in this tragic accident and a cause will need to be identified. The families of the dead and missing crewmen may be entitled to file personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits against those eventually found to be responsible for the accident.

It will require the assistance of an experienced boating accident attorney like Richard S. Jaffe Esq. to assess the families’ situation and calculate the financial value of a wrongful death lawsuit. He offers a free consultation and does not ask for any upfront fees, as these are paid only when a settlement has been won.

He can be contacted at the Law Offices of Cohen & Jaffe LLP, 2001 Marcus Avenue, Suite W295, Lake Success, NY 11042. Phone: 516-358-6900 or toll free: 800-483-6149.

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