Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

January 20, 2010

Deckhand drowns in Kenova accident

Kenova — Authorities say there was no evidence of negligence or foul play and no criminal charges will be filed in the drowning death of a Marathon Petroleum Co. deckhand early Tuesday morning.

“It was purely a tragic, tragic accident,” Kenova Police Chief Bob McComas said.

Gary C. Adams, 25, of Waterloo, Ohio, drowned after he fell overboard from the Motor Vessel Tri-State. The accident occurred between midnight and 1 a.m. at the Marathon loading docks off the 2300 block of Beech Street in Kenova.

His death was the first in Marathon Petroleum’s marine group since the company’s formation in 1998, spokeswoman Linda Casey said. The company was formed as a result of Marathon and Ashland Inc. merging their refining assets. Ashland later sold its stake in the combined company to Marathon.

According to McComas, the Tri-State, which was headed downriver, had pulled up to the docks and roped off to some barges. The vessel was secured by three tie lines, which Adams and his co-workers had gone out to disconnect, he said.

Someone gave the all-clear signal, mistakenly indicating that all three lines had been disconnected, McComas said.

Adams had noticed one of the tie lines was still fastened to the barge and was attempting to disconnect it as the towboat’s pilot gunned the throttle, McComas said.

The pilot let off the throttle, which caused the boat to jerk to the right and bump the barge, knocking Adams overboard, the chief said.

Adams was wearing a life jacket, and fellow crew members tossed him a buoy, but Adams was sucked underneath the Tri-State, McComas said. Workers pulled on the buoy line until the buoy came up empty, he said.

A nearby harbor boat, the Motor Vessel MAP Runner, moved in to assist, and its crew helped pull Adams’ body from the water. Medical crews performed CPR, but Adams was pronounced dead at the scene.

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