3 people rescued on Ohio River when barge crushes boat

3 people rescued on Ohio River when barge crushes boat

PITTSBURGH — A barge struck a boat overnight on the Ohio River and three people had to be rescued, authorities said.

The collision happened shortly after midnight Tuesday below the Point and above the West End Bridge.

At one point, the boat was stuck under the front right side of the barge.

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According to public safety officials, the barge was empty and riding high, so the captain was not aware the boat was caught under it.

When barges are empty, they float up and are 10-feet high, meaning the captain can't see when something's too close. But when barges are filled, the captain's line of sight is OK.

The barge was slowed and stopped after the captain saw and heard River Rescue's lights and sirens, officials said.

The three adults who were on the boat called 911. River Rescue got them onto the River Rescue boat and took them to the North Shore boathouse outside PNC Park. Paramedics then took them to a hospital to be evaluated.

A woman who was on the boat told Channel 11's Jennifer Tomazic that she and her two brothers had stopped on the river to charge their boat battery. She said none of them noticed the barge until it came right at them and slammed into the boat.

The woman claims they blared their SOS horn, but the barge still pushed them down the river a couple hundred feet. She also told Channel 11 News the lights on the boat were on at the time.


Authorities said it appeared the boat became caught on the barge somewhere on the Monongahela River.

As for the woman's injuries, she said she has some bruises and a sprained ankle, while her one brother has a head and back injury.

River Rescue was able to free the boat from the barge and towed it to the boathouse, officials said.

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating.