Deckhand Disappears from Mississippi Towboat

File image courtesy Riverside Construction

Published Nov 5, 2018 9:32 AM by The Maritime Executive

[Brief] In the early hours of Saturday morning, a deckhand disappeared from a moored towboat on the Mississippi River at St. Joseph, Louisiana. The Coast Guard, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and the local sheriff's department conducted a search of the river all day Saturday - including dragging the river and scanning with sonar - but without success. The search resumed Sunday morning. 

According to the boat's owner, Riverside Construction of Vicksburg, Mississipi, divers would not search the area near the boat because of dangerous currents. 

"We are doing every single thing that can be done right now to find him," said Lewis Miller, the owner of Riverside Construction, speaking to local TV news.  

The missing crewmember, identified as Timothy Howell Hearn, may have fallen over the side. The Coast Guard is investigating the accident. 

In 2016, a dump truck diver employed by Riverside died while loading limestone from barges moored at Vicksburg. He was backing up to the barges on a floating loading ramp when his truck went into the river, coming to rest in 45 feet of water. OSHA cited Riverside for two "serious" violations in connection with the accident, including missing components from the truck's brake system and a floating loading ramp that was allegedly not built to prevent vehicles from going over the edge. The firm contested these allegations.