Six people rescued after barge tow collides with powerboats in Texas

Six people were rescued after a barge tow collided with two powerboats in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) east of Galveston, Texas.  

The 1,800-hp towboat Lucy Hannah was towing two 297-by-54-foot barges when part of the tow contacted the two powerboats on July 30 at about 2126. All six people in the two boats ended up in the water near ICW mile 343, along Goat Island, the U.S. Coast Guard said. 

One of the powerboats was towing the other one, which had become disabled, at the time of the incident. 

“The towboat was heading east on the ICW pushing two barges strung out,” U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Ryan Dickinson said in an email. “The first recreational vessel with the tow was also heading east on the ICW. The recreational vessels were overtaking the towboat and barge (on the starboard side) prior to the collision.”

Both the recreational vessel and the towboat were using navigational lights, he added. Other details about the incident, including the chain of events that preceded the collision, were not available during the ongoing Coast Guard investigation. 

Lucy Hannah’s captain reported all six were either wearing life jackets or clinging to them after going overboard, the Coast Guard said in a news release. 

A Coast Guard boat crew from Station Galveston rescued two people from the water, as well as a third person who had jumped into the towboat, Dickinson said. A Port Bolivar fireboat crew rescued the three others. It’s not clear if any of the boaters were seriously injured. 

D&S Marine Service of Gray, La., operates the 47-year-old Lucy Hannah. The company did not respond to an inquiry about the incident by press time.