Search suspended for shipyard worker blown into Alabama river

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 04, 2013 3:31 PM

By Kaija Wilkinson

MOBILE, Alabama (Reuters) - Rescue workers suspended their search on Thursday for an Alabama shipyard worker who was thrown into the Mobile River by strong winds that also caused a Carnival Corp cruise ship to break loose from its moorings.

The U.S. Coast Guard called off the search for 64-year-old John "Buster" Johnson after about 15 hours of looking for him, said Petty Officer Amber Menden.

Johnson, an employee in BAE Systems Plc's shipbuilding branch, and another man were inside a guard shack that was blown into the river on Wednesday by high winds. The other man was rescued and treated for mild hypothermia, authorities said.

The shack was two docks away from Carnival's Triumph, which drifted into a cargo vessel after breaking loose from the dock where it was being repaired.

In February, an engine fire left the Triumph adrift in the Gulf of Mexico for five days with more than 4,000 passengers aboard, and it was towed to Mobile.

On Thursday, the Coast Guard said it would resume operations if there was any indication that Johnson was alive.

(Reporting by Kaija Wilkinson; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Scott Malone and Eric Beech)