PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Two people were injured when a barge crashed into a boat carrying three people overnight.
According to Pittsburgh Public Safety, crews with River Rescue responded to the scene around 12:15 a.m. on the Ohio River, below The Point and above the West End Bridge.
Authorities say the collision happened somewhere along the Monongahela River, and the boat then became wedged under the barge.
According to U.S. Coast Guard Ensign William Russell, the passengers are lucky to be alive. “Oh, incredibly fortunate,” he told KDKA. “Situations like this don’t happen very often. It goes without saying, they’re lucky.”
The people on the boat then called 911.
The barge operator only became aware that he had hit something when he saw River Rescue’s lights and heard their sirens. He stopped the barge and crews were then able to rescue the two men and one woman aboard the boat.
“That river has a lot of commercial traffic,” Russell said. “As a recreational boater, you want to be loud and as visible as you can be.”
The woman suffered a minor leg injury, while one of the men was complaining of neck and back pain. The third man was not hurt.
All three were taken to a local hospital to be checked out.
“I would say if they are going to be transiting at night in the river, maybe closer to the banks out of the sailing line of where that commercial traffic comes through, that’s definitely going to be a safer option,” Russell said at the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Bridgeville.
— Chris Hoffman (@NewsmanChris) August 6, 2019
River Rescue managed to free the boat from under the barge and towed it to the North Shore boathouse.
The U.S. Coast Guard has been called in to investigate the crash.
Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.