Tow hits anchored pontoon boat in North Carolina, killing one

One recreational boater died and another was injured when a tugboat pushing a single barge hit an anchored pontoon boat in the Intracoastal Waterway near Beaufort, N.C.

The barge, pushed by the 94-foot John Parrish, hit the pontoon boat outside the navigation channel at about 1300 on Nov. 3, said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Dan Schrader. Both people on the recreational craft ended up in the water.

The incident is under investigation but the Coast Guard has not yet determined the cause. The ongoing inquiry limits what the service can release about the case, Schrader said. As such, the Coast Guard could not comment on details about the impact or how the pontoon boat passengers ended up in the water.

Scott Ingle, a wildlife officer with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, said the pontoon boat did not sink. He helped coordinate its removal from the waterway later in the day on Nov. 3. He referred other questions about the incident to the Coast Guard.

John Parrish, a 1,500-hp model bow tugboat, was heading north with the unidentified barge when the incident occurred roughly 20 miles west of Beaufort. Crew aboard the tug alerted the Coast Guard, which broadcast an urgent marine bulletin to vessels in the region. Two vessels nearby pulled the victims from the water.

“A TowBoat U.S. vessel and a good Samaritan operating nearby each recovered one person from the water,” Schrader said. Both boaters were transported to shore and paramedics brought them to Carteret Health Care hospital in Morehead City, where one victim later died.

Authorities have not identified either victim or shared details about their injuries.

The 48-year-old tugboat is registered to Biblia Inc. of Savannah, Ga. Attempts to reach owner William Van Puffelen were not successful.

By Professional Mariner Staff