Fisherman dies after being struck by tug and barges

A tug pushing three asphalt barges struck and killed a 73-year-old fisherman in a 14-foot outboard motorboat on the Tennessee River near Mile 102.

The accident occurred at 0930 on June 5 as Wayne Day and a companion, Jimmy Bratcher, were fishing in a navigable part of the river when their vessel was struck, according to Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Rice, an investigator with the U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Office in Paducah, Ky.

Bratcher jumped out of the boat just before impact and swam to safety, suffering only minor injuries. Day’s body was found four days later about a mile downriver.

The crew of the tug and tow were detained by the Coast Guard for questioning until the next day, when they were permitted to proceed.

The tug, MV Dennis Ross, is owned by Magnolia Marine of Jackson, Miss. According to Rice, the master of the tug was on the bridge at the time of the accident. Immediately following the collision, the master complained of chest pains and was taken to a hospital, where drug and alcohol tests were also performed.

It is unclear whether the master suffered a heart attack. Rice said the incident is still under investigation and the results of drug and alcohol testing have not been made public.

The medical examiner’s report on the cause of Day’s death has yet to be released.

By Professional Mariner Staff