The Good, the Bad, and the Not Too Smart Page 3

The Good, the Bad, and the Not Too Smart

Part 3: Leap for Life

Elizabeth Ginns Britten — February 2004


Illustration: Brian Raszka
 More of this Feature

• Good Fortune
• Where There’s Lint, There’s Fire
• Leap for Life
• Losing More than Sleep
• Adrift for 12 Hours

 Related Resources
• Feature Index

 Elsewhere on the Web
• Professional Mariner

Talk about the nick of time...On January 29, 2002, BTU Special, a harbor tug, was working in treacherous high seas on the Tennessee River in a Peducah, Kentucky, when she was caught in an eddy as the captain was preparing to tie up to an empty barge. Then, according to Lt. j.g. Patrick Mounsey of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Office in Paducah, “the boat ended up getting sideways, got pinned against the barge, and it got sucked right under.” It was later determined that a line had become entangled around both props and all six of the tug’s rudders, which no doubt restricted her maneuverability and contributed to the accident.

The 50-foot, 600-hp tug sank 23 feet to the bottom of the channel two miles upstream of the confluence of the Tennessee and Ohio rivers, leaking 1,100 gallons of diesel fuel into the water.

BTU Special was raised on February 8, a week after she sank, and damages were estimated to be more than $100,000, a considerable lump of change. However, the amount of money is inconsequential in comparison to the damage that could have been caused to the captain, who narrowly averted death when he leaped to safety just seconds before the tug went under.

Next page > Part 4: Losing More Than Sleep > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

This article originally appeared in the January 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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