MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The sinking of a towboat in the Mississippi River was probably caused by a boat pilot's mistake and lack of oversight of the vessel, federal officials said.
The National Transportation and Safety Board reported the pilot had decided to operate the boat with unsecured deck hatches when the 66-foot (20-meter) Ricky Robinson capsized and sank near Memphis, Tennessee, on Dec. 8, 2017.
The pilot went at a speed that resulted in water on deck and aft flooding, resulting in the death of the deckhand, whose body was found inside the wreckage nine days after the vessel sank, NTSB said. The pilot is presumed dead.
WMC-TV identified the boat captain as Keith Pigram, and the deckhand as Anquavioius Newson, his stepson.
The NTSB said the boat company, Wepfer Marine, had inadequate oversight over the crew's handling of the hatches, contributing to the sinking.
About 200 gallons (757 liters) of diesel oil were released into the river and damage to boat was estimated at $1.5 million, the report released in December said.