Commuters riding a barge to St. John early Monday morning, June 21, started their week off with a bang.
The 87-foot car barge General II and a 25-foot fiberglass motor boat collided about 100 yards off Red Hook dock on General II’s way to St. John just after 7 a.m. on June 21, according to U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson Ricardo Castrodad.
The 25-foot power boat was carrying seven passengers en route to work on St. James Island when it was struck by the General II, sending the men overboard and at least two to the hospital.
The incident was reported to USCG officials around 7:15 a.m. who initiated a search and rescue mission until word came shortly after 7:20 a.m. from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol that all of the men had been recovered from the water by Good Samaritans, according to Castrodad.
“Around 7:15 a.m. we received a report that there had been a boat collision in Pillsbury Sound and that one boat was carrying seven male passengers who were thrown into the water,” Castrodad said. “We initiated our search and rescue, but stood down once we corroborated with
Customs and Boarder Patrol agents that everyone had been recovered from the water.”
Two men from the boat were treated at R.L. Schneider Regional Medical Center after the incident, according to hospital spokesperson Sam Topp.
One man was treated for a head injury following the crash and the other man was seen by doctors later that day for a shoulder injury. Both men were treated and released.
The USCG is investigating the case to determine the cause of the collision, Castrodad added.
“The case is under investigation,” said the USCG spokesperson. “I can’t comment on the details of the investigation until the investigation is complete.”
The men in the small power boat had reportedly stopped the vessel to rearrange some tools, when it was hit by the barge, according to a report in a local daily newspaper.
“The captain of the of the General II said he did not see the boat, according to [Department of Planning and Natural Resources Assistant Director of Enforcement Roberto] Tapia, but did see the men who were thrown from their boat in the water,” according to the report in the V.I. Daily News. “He continued to St. John and said he learned of the crash after he arrived on St. John.”