Report finds boat operator on cell phone before fatal crash

March 16, 2011

Washington – The first mate of a tugboat made numerous cell phone calls prior to a fatal collision last year, according to a report (.pdf file) released March 7 by the National Transportation Safety Board.

NTSB documents state that on July 7, 2010, a tugboat collided with an amphibious tour boat in the Delaware River, near Philadelphia. The tour boat had 35 passengers and two crewmembers, while the tugboat carried five crewmembers. Twenty-six passengers suffered minor injuries and two passengers on the tour boat died as a result of the crash.

Cell phone records obtained by NTSB indicated the first mate made and received numerous calls up until the incident. Investigators learned he had been dealing with a family crisis. NTSB officials have yet to determine the probable cause of the incident.