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Passengers Shaken Up When Gateway Clipper Boat Hits Veterans Bridge Pier

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Ralph Iannotti Ralph Iannotti
Ralph Iannotti began working as a KDKA-TV general assignment reporter...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — One person was checked for injuries and more than 100 passengers were shaken up when one of the Gateway Clipper Fleet boats struck the Veterans Bridge Friday evening.

The Gateway Princess, which is a paddle, wheel-style riverboat, hit a pier on the Veterans Bridge just after 7:30 p.m.

The boat was carrying about 180 passengers.

No one was seriously hurt, but Pittsburgh River Rescue went on-board when the boat docked at Station Square to evaluate one person. The person was not transported.

Lisa DeRosimo and her daughter, Angela, from Miami, Florida, were on the boat celebrating Lisa’s stepfather’s birthday.

Lisa said everyone was having a good time when suddenly she heard someone say, “take your seat, we’re going to have an impact.”

Another passenger, Paul Curley, said he knew something was wrong, but couldn’t pinpoint it because “the boat was drifting sideways; it was really weird.”

“It was a pretty hard hit,” Janet Kolod, another passenger said. “It was scary.”

Terry Wirginis, the president of the Gateway Clipper Fleet, said the issue with the vessel was a mechanical problem “with the air compressor or with the air control system that runs the throttles.”

He speculated it might have been a leak in the line in both throttles, first one went and then another.

Wirginis said he hoped after the Coast Guard inspects the boat Saturday, it can be put back in operation.

The Fish and Game Commission inspected the bridge after the incident, and found no structural damage.

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