Godwin, Morris, Laurenzi & Bloomfield, P.C.

Barge sinks near Shelby County, two contractors missing

Taking work on the Mississippi River can be a dangerous endeavor, but it is one that some people in the Shelby County area enjoy doing. For two Kinder Morgan contractors, working on the swift-moving river has ended in tragedy.

The incident occurred April 8 at around 3:15 in the afternoon when a barge was being unloaded. It was carrying steel coils. The barge began to list and ultimately sank. Employees say it only took the barge around 30 seconds to completely submerge. The two men who were working on the barge at the time of the accident are unaccounted for. The Coast Guard was searching for the men, but it has since called off the search. Kinder Morgan, however, says they haven't given up the hope of finding the bodies.

Upon the sounding of the "man overboard" alarm, the emergency response plan was activated. Other Kinder Morgan boats began searching the area immediately. First responders were there within 30 minutes.

The barge is resting on the river bed right side up. One possibility is that the men were trapped during the barge accident, but that hasn't been substantiated. The search for the two men extended from the Hickman accident site all the way to the 785 mile marker just north of Memphis. In total, 60 miles of the Mississippi River was searched.

Boating accidents like this one are devastating for the families involved. Anyone who has lost a family member in a riverboat accident might have the right to seek compensation for that loss. Understanding maritime law and how to seek compensation might help to make the process of seeking compensation easier.

Source:  Blytheville Courier News, "KM officials still hope to recover river victims" Shannon Spears Harris, Apr. 11, 2014

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