November 3, 2011
The tugboat pilot who was responsible for steering a barge that plowed through a stalled duck boat and killed two Hungarian foreign exchange students on the Delaware River this past July, was sentenced today to 366 days in prison for his part in the accident. According to NBC- Philadelphia, the 35-year-old captain was convicted of misconduct of a ship operator resulting in death.
Reports say that the man apologized to the families of the victims and blamed the accident on a string of phone calls he was handling at the time. The captain said he was distracted by news that his 5-year-old son had stopped breathing for several minutes during a routine eye surgery, and that he had gone below deck to make and take phone calls from family members while browsing the internet for more information. During this time, the barge was bearing down on the stranded duck boat now anchored in the middle of the busy channel. Several calls to re-route were made to the tugboat operator’s radio, but went unanswered. The ships collided, sending all 37 passengers aboard the small vessel into the water, two of whom, never resurfaced.
The student’s bodies were recovered the next day and following several weeks of investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the pilot was arrested and charged.
The Philadelphia Boating Accident Attorneys with Lundy Law want to hear from you. Do you think that the punishment for the captain of the tugboat fits the crime? Tell us your opinion by posting to our Facebook page.