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Two killed, one missing in boating accident on Minnesota River


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Yikes, be careful out there frown.gif.

Happened near Bloomington. Head on, into a barge.

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From the Star Tribune Online this morning...

Last update: May 30, 2005 at 10:06 AM

Two killed, one missing in boating accident on Minnesota River

Star Tribune

May 30, 2005

A boating accident on the Minnesota River near Shakopee has left two people dead and a third person missing but presumed dead.

Witness told police that the boaters ran headlong into a barge about 10:30 p.m. Sunday. The barge had been docked into a lock, KSTP-TV reported.

The boat struck the barge's bow; the river's current was strong enough to suck the boat beneath the barge, according to media reports. Police have not recovered the boat, which may yet be lodged beneath the barge.

The witnesses, a couple of fishermen, said they immediately went to the rear of the barge and found one of the boat's passengers, a woman. They told police that they pulled her from the river and tried to revive her to no avail, according to media reports.

The fishermen called authorities, who began a search and rescue mission, according to a Bloomington police spokesman who spoke with media at the scene.

Authorities found a missing male passenger a short time later. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Police halted a search for the third boater last night after sunset. The search will resume about 10 this morning near the Shakopee and Burnsville border, according to KSTP-TV. Police told the media that the search will not be considered a rescue mission; rather, it will be considered a "recovery" mission.

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Who knows how the accident occured, may have been alcohol related, may have been excess speed, or lack of lighting.. or a little of all 3, or at least 2 of them.

Them docked barges are hard to see when its dark and your moving.. when your light is shined down on the water looking for obsticles, they look like a big black wall.. nothing that really stands out unless you are looking for them, or know they are coming.

Not to start a controversy here.. but wouldnt it seem half way reasonable to ask for some reflective type of material along the face of the barge(above water line). It is no big deal when they are moving at night, them spotlights are about 5 million candle power i think, your not going to miss that.. but when a barge is stationed somewhere, reflective material would shine with any light source.. might save another life here and there.. and lots of *skipped heartbeats* for those traveling in the dark and not realizing the barge is there until they are too close for comfort.

There is a lot more barge traffic south of here.. I'm sure it would get a lot of praise, and the material wouldnt cost that much.

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I see they found the third person.

The latest in the startribune offers some very sobering details, especially the testimony of the two nearby fisherman who were as close to being eyewitnesses as you can in the pitch dark.

These were three young people, I don't know what they were doing and exactly what all of the factors were, and probably none of us do, but we do know that not all safety precautions were taken.

This spot is less than 1 mile from my house, and I see that barge nearly every day, so I'm not likely to forget this one. It is yet another sad reminder to take all the safety precautions we all know but sometimes fail to adhere to.

No need to say anymore, this one just has me particularly sad for some reason.

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Very sad news.

May God give the families comfort and may God welcome the victims into heaven.

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Bad thing.....

Yes, after fishing down there a fair amount of time some reflective tape would be very helpful.... The two eyewitnesses are two very good friends, one even works for me. Both frequent this site, but I won't give names out until I talk to them. Lets just say that the victims were in good hands and if they were not revived it wasn't from lack of training and experience. I'm sure my friends tried there hardest.... May they rest in peace. Everyone be extra careful this year, we don't need anymore accidents. It is amazing the mass of a barge... they need to be repspected, both in transit and mored. I have seen the likes of full size trees that have met a barge head on and the aftermath is amazing. Remember.... you won't win in any situation like that, so don't get into one.

MNRiverRat

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I just talked to one of them... the two were GOTCATFISH and FIREMAN for those that know them.... GCF said he'd post on here sometime.... Lets just say good thing there are people in the world like these two guys that aren't afraid to do what they can in a situation like this....

MNRiverRat

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Hey everyone-

Here is exactly what happen on Sunday night.

Andy and I were anchored in a very promising looking spot near the loading crane at Cargill. A small fishing craft came down river a idle speed, as they got closer to us, they gradually picked up speed. By the time they past us, they were up on plain and hootin' and hollerin' as they went by. Maybe 1 minute later we heard a loud crash and then the motor was just going. We immediately(sp) pulled anchor and our lines and went to help. It could not have been even 2 minutes from the crash to the time we got our spot lights and the headlights on my boat to light up the crash site. When we did get light we could see the boat was already half way under the barge with one victim climbing the boat and yelling for help. I have a 17' Alumacraft with a seventy horse motor and we were getting sucked into the barges too. We tried a rope throw twice to the victim but had to back out so they would not end up looking for 5 people in the river.

At this point I was ont he phone with 911 and Andy was searching with both spot lights for anything. After about 5 minutes I spotted the first victim floating face down in the river. We pulled her on board. As Andy started CPR I hit the throttle and flew too the 35w landing where we met emergency workers. At this point we took a Bloomington firefighter and a sargeant from Bloomington police dept. in my boat and showed them the crash site and started a slow search down river from Cargill. During this search we ended up showing two more rescue boats and Shakopee's airboat the crash site and where we figured the victims might be drifting with the current.

As we got closer to the boat landing, we were actually right in front of the barge you can see from 35w if you are traveling south on the bridge when I spotted the second victim. This guy drifted almost two miles in 40 mintues. That river is really moving right now. We pulled him in and began CPR and rushed the short distance to the waitng ambulance.

It is at this time Scott County Sheriff's want us to take them and show them the crash site and get all info we have on what happened. We showed them everything, told them everything we knew and made two more searches with rescue workers before someone said that we should get these two guys back and let them get on with thier night. All we wanted to do was help. So we kept searching all th way back to the launch.

I have never witnessed anything like this before. I don't have any emergency training like Andy(a.k.a. Fireman) does, but I did what I would want someone to do for me, even if they knew there wasn't much chance for survival. I really hope the families find some sort of comfort knowing what happened, versus just wondering what exactly went on, and I also hope they find a little comfort in knowing that we did everyting humanly possible to get thier loved ones home that night. Andy and I both send our condolences to all of the families.

Guys please be very careful on the river. I was not real good about wearing my life vest before this. I WILL BE WEARING ONE ANYTIME THE BIG MOTOR IS RUNNING. I think everyone can learn from this, I know I did. I think maybe there should be a life vest law similar to the seat belt law. I know it woulkd be hard to enforce but so is the seat belt thing. Oh well I will be wearing my vest from now on and i think everyone else should also.

One more thing bring a spot light and go slow if you are going to be out after dark. Lighting, life vests, and good common sense are all cheaper than paying with your life.

Hope evryone had a good holiday-

Send our condolences to the families-

And plaese be safe-

Tony Voight(gotcatfish) and Andy Wolfram(fireman)

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I certainly appreciate the fact you guys responded to the scene and hope there is no second guessing about not getting to the survivor in time. You certainly made the right call not putting yourselves in the same position.

Most of us that frequent that section of river understand the dangers of the river at night...

I can't imagine how a 200+ foot barge that sits more that 10 feet high sneeks up on someone. I have had a few close calls on the river at night even with a spotlight, but the barges are pretty easy to see with a light. Sounds like the driver was likely distracted or under the influence. The river at night is no place for either especially for those not familiar with the dangers of a river.

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It does seems as if moored barges should have some lights or means of reflection on them.

It was a tragic weekend on Minnesota waters. I'm glad that there are people like gotcatfish and fireman out there!

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Tony, you are a true hero, saw you on TV and also in the paper this morning. Andy as well.

I worry for you guys that you might feel like you could have somehow done more, but you did so much and risked your own lives, so just remember that.

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Moored barges do have lights on after sunset.

They follow the Rules of the Road which allows you to determine what any craft is, the size, and what it is doing either day or night according to the lights and/or dayshapes.

Lights are better than reflectors because they can be seen without having to ruin your night vision using a spotlight. They are also visible at a distance which is out of the range of most spotlights.

If that barge had been unlit you can be sure it would be all over the news. It would have also been reported as unlit by a tow vessel and would have been listed as a hazard to navigation by the Coast Guard. Action to remedy this would have been swift.

This was a very unfortunate and avoidable incident which could have prevented with the proper precautions. This should serve as a reminder to everyone that the rivers have a number of hazards which are simply not present on the majority of our lakes, and deserve an extra level of caution when on them even during daylight hours.

Be smart, be safe out there!

frown.gif

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wow, what a sad story. It's very easy to think..... could of, would of, should of. I'm glad you were of sound mind enough to realize that you had to pull back. It must have been really hard.

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I Work as a security guard for ......... and I actually have all her personal belongings in this room since they have to be picked up by one of the family members its weird knowing the victim--- and knowing the ones that tried to save her. i printed out the story to be handed out to the family with her personal belongings so they know that FM'ers have our thoughts and prayers with them and so they know that FM is proud to have these two heroes among our fishing family.

Semper Fi

Dave

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Sad, very sad frown.gif The guys that tried to help, and put themselves in danger are kinda people we need more of in this world.

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I have lost a couple of freinds to the river before and helped with recovery missions, but this time even though I didn't know the victims, it is really upsetting every time I think about this tragedy.

I hope we can all learn something from this. Safety should be considered before all else. I for one need to remember that more often. The river is beautiful place but it needs to be respected.

I also have to hand it to the gotcatfish and fireman. You guys are true heros. I hope that you guys find some peace and don't dwell on this tragedy to much.

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I am glad to know there are people like gotcatfish and fireman out on the river! Barges arent the only thing out there. I was shore fishing last week and heard some loud crashes and as I squinted I made out the shape of a HUGE tree crashing into a snag on the bridge. The force it hit was amazing and it didnt even slow down..it just kept on going down stream. Would hate to think what it could've done to a boat. Be careful out there guys!

rob

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