Body of crewman pulled from sunken tugboat as family watches

AP News
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Posted: Mar 24, 2016 3:05 PM
Body of crewman pulled from sunken tugboat as family watches

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — The body of a crewman who was trapped in the mangled wreckage of a tugboat that sank after it crashed into a barge on the Hudson River was recovered Thursday as his family watched from the shoreline.

Family members of Harry Hernandez, 56, stood on a pier in Tarrytown, north of New York City, waving white flags adorned with pink hearts as they watched rescuers use a large crane to pull the 90-foot tugboat to the water's surface. A police boat later brought Hernandez's body to the shore.

"Many of his cousins were here and obviously it's been a traumatic experience for them over the course of many days," Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino told reporters at the scene Thursday. "The family has been trying to deal with this for quite a while, but today brings closure to them in many ways."

Two other crew members died in the March 12 collision when the tugboat, known as the Specialist, collided with a construction barge near where the new Tappan Zee Bridge, which connects two counties north of New York City, is being built. Authorities said three tugboats were pushing a barge from Albany to Jersey City, New Jersey, when the Specialist — situated on the right side as it headed south — hit the stationary construction barge.

The bodies of the two other men, Paul Amon, 63, of Bayville, New Jersey, and Timothy Conklin, 29, of Westbury, were recovered in the two days after the collision. Police divers had been unable to recover Hernandez's body because it was trapped in a mangled portion of the vessel, authorities have said.

Police are still working to determine what caused the tugboat to hit the barge and will now attempt to locate the tugboat's log book and GPS device.