NTSB: Boat didn’t heed danger signals before fatal collision

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — The captain of a fishing boat that collided with a chemical tanker near Galveston, Texas, killing three people, did not respond to danger signals from the ship before the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday.

The federal agency issued a report in its investigation of the Jan. 14, 2020 collision that killed three crew members on the 81-foot (25-meter) fishing boat Pappy’s Pride. A fourth crew member survived but was injured. No one aboard the tanker Bow Fortune was hurt.

Before the collision, the tanker’s pilot radioed the fishing boat three times and the ship sounded two danger signals, the NTSB said in a news release. The boat’s automatic identification system showed the captain had been actively steering the vessel, but the boat did not respond to any of the radio calls or danger signals, the release said.

The boat’s lone survivor told investigators that the captain was in the wheelhouse in the minutes before the collision, and one of the crew members was headed there. But because neither survived, investigators couldn’t determine why the fishing vessel didn’t attempt to avoid the collision, the report said.

“It is possible the captain was away … was distracted, fell asleep, was unsure of what action to take, or was otherwise unable to respond to the developing situation,” the report said.

Authorities recovered the body of crew member Constantino Corona, 59, of Palacios, Texas, shortly after the crash. Weeks later, the bodies of the other two men were recovered. The Galveston County medical examiner’s office identified them as Antonio Robles, 44, of Pharr, Texas, and Raymond Herrera, 57, of Texas City.

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