TARRYTOWN, N.Y (CBSNewYork/AP) — A third body has was identified and located inside a sunken tug boat under the Tappan Zee Bridge Monday, but has not been recovered, sources told CBS2.
The sunken tug boat also must still be brought back to the surface following the deadly crash over the weekend.
A commercial maritime salvage company will be contacted to recover the body on Tuesday, depending on weather and visibility conditions in the water, sources told CBS2.
The remains of Harry Hernandez, of Staten Island, had been believed to be located in a section of the sunken tugboat that divers were not able to access.
“The marine unit for the county police department will stay on site until and in the event that the third crew member is found,” Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said.
Hernandez was a crew member on board the 90-foot tugboat named Specialist that crashed into a stationary construction barge Saturday morning. The tugboat sank, spilling about 5,000 gallons of fuel into the water.
“We are trying to contain the leakage,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
In the recovery efforts since the collision, the bodies of two men working alongside of Hernandez, 63-year-old Paul Amon of Bayville, New Jersey, and 29-year-old Timothy Conklin, of Westbury, Long Island, have been found.
Amon’s body was pulled from the water Saturday. Conklin’s body was brought back to shore after divers found him inside the tugboat around 11 a.m. Sunday.
The tugboat was one of three escorting a barge carrying a crane from Albany to Jersey City. The Specialist was the boat on the right as the operation drifted towards the construction barge under the Tappan Zee Bridge.
There were reports of radio transmissions from the tug that crashed saying, according to Cuomo, “We are too close. We have to move left.” But it apparently was too late, the governor said.
“They didn’t move in time and sometimes it’s just that, just an accident,” he said.
The boat sank in moments, the impact caused severe damage and the wreckage has been deemed too dangerous for divers to risk going inside.
Authorities believed the sunken tug is wedged directly underneath the barge it struck at the mid-span of the bridge.
A tugboat on the left side of the barge that was being pushed, as well as one that was pushing the barge from the rear, were not involved in the accident.
Cuomo said in a statement that 21 workers were on the bridge construction barge that was hit, but none were injured. He added the construction barge was illuminated at the time of the pre-dawn collision.
Commercial divers from a salvage company retained by the tugboat owner are expected to arrive on the scene Monday to assess the damage and figure out how to remove the wreckage from the river, O’Leary said. The company will then submit a salvage plan to the Coast Guard for approval, he said.
“When that’s under way, police will be present if they find a body,” O’Leary added.
The sunken tugboat is surrounded by containment booms to stop the fuel spill from spreading. Rescue and search efforts have turned into a salvage operation.
James Mercante, an attorney for the owner of Specialist, said the crew was licensed, competent and experienced personnel. He called the crash “a shocking, horrific marine tragedy.”
A spokeswoman for Tappan Zee Constructors, a consortium of companies building the new bridge, said the company is cooperating in the investigation.
Officials said a private diving crew will determine how to pull the tugboat out of the Hudson River.
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