Four Rescued, Two Missing After Boat Collides with Oyster Barge and Tug in Virginia

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July 14, 2018

U.S. Coast Guard Photo

The U.S. Coast Guard and other state and local agencies are searching for two people missing after their recreational boat, with six people aboard, collided with an oyster barge being pushed by a tug on the James River near Newport News, Virginia. 

Good Samaritans recovered four of the people in the water and they were taken to a local hospital where they are expected to make a full recovery.

The collision occurred Saturday morning near the James River Bridge. The tug and oyster barge were headed for an oyster bed when it collided with the 19-foot center console boat. 

First responders from multiple agencies are working together by boat and air to search for the two missing people. 

The tug Miss Hannah called the Coast Guard on VHF channel 16 at 7:44 a.m., when they saw the bow of the recreational boat pop up behind a tug pushing an oyster barge with a pump barge alongside, according to a Coast Guard statement.

The waterway is closed between the James River Bridge and the Monitor Merrimac Memorial Bridge Tunnel for safety.

Search assets have included crews aboard a Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, Coast Guard Station Portsmouth search and rescue boats, a Virginia Marine Police airplane, a Virginia Marine Resources Commission boat, Newport News police and fire boats and a Hampton Roads police boat.

The Coast Guard and Virginia Marine Resources Commission are jointly investigating the cause of the incident.

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