Waymon L Boyd Dredge Fire

Coast Guard crews respond to a dredge on fire in the Port of Corpus Christi Ship Channel, Aug. 21, 2020. A Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was launched to the scene, hoisted two injured crewmembers and transferred them to Corpus Christi Medical Center - Bay Area. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Waymon L. Boyd Dredger Explosion: Fifth Crew Member Dies from Injuries

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December 11, 2020

A mariner injured in the Waymon L. Boyd dredger explosion back in August has died from his injuries, bringing the accident’s death toll to five.

The fifth fatality was confirmed by lawyers of the victim, identified as Jose Coca.

“Tragically and unfortunately, Mr. Coca was badly burned and he put up a courageous, long battle in the burn unit in San Antonio, but unfortunately he passed away fairly recently. So it increased the number of deaths from this incident from four to five,” the plaintiff’s attorney Chris Leavitt told a local news station. Leavitt represents Coca’s family and the relatives of two other victims of the blast.

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board released in October said the dredge Waymon L. Boyd reportedly struck a submerged 16-inch liquid propane pipeline operated by Enterprise Products during dredging operations in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel on August 21, resulting in an explosion. In addition to the four initial fatalities, six other crew members were injured in the incident, including Mr. Coca.

At the time of the accident the Orion Marine Group dredger was conducting dredging operations adjacent to EPIC Corpus Christi Marine Terminal, located on the Inner Harbor in Corpus Christi, Texas. A geyser of gas and water erupted adjacent to the vessel followed by an explosion and fire consumed the vessel and surrounding shoreline. The vessel subsequently sank.

The U.S. Coast Guard has declared the accident a major marine casualty. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is the lead federal agency for the safety investigation, which is on-going.

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