In April, workers with APAC Construction and a tugboat operator were performing repairs on a bridge in Smithville, Mo., when their barge and boat capsized, forcing them to jump into frigid waters. According to local media reports, the workers were in Smithville Lake for up to 15 minutes. A medical helicopter transported one worker to a nearby hospital as a precaution, and six others were treated and released at area hospitals. Luckily, this unfortunate tug and barge accident did not result in any serious injuries or deaths.
The construction workers were installing steel support beams on the underside of the bridge, and at the time of the accident, a crane on the bridge was lowering beams onto the barge. Too many beams ended up on one side, causing the barge to become off-balanced and turn over. David Guilliaume, president of APAC Construction, said the company would conduct its own analysis and work with investigators to figure out exactly what happened.
Fortunately, the workers were all wearing lifejackets and there was a safety boat on the scene, or else this accident might have ended tragically. Not all tug and barge companies take such precautions, however, and proper training and safe practices are just as important as lifesaving equipment.
When a tug and barge accident results in injuries, workers may be eligible for compensation under the Jones Act or other maritime laws. Claims must be filed within the applicable statute of limitations, making it important for injured workers to seek assistance from an experienced maritime attorney as soon as possible.
Have you been injured in a tug and barge accident? Contact a Boston maritime attorney today to discuss your case with someone dedicated to protecting maritime workers’ rights.
Latti & Anderson LLP – Boston maritime lawyers