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Fatal Crash Near Tappan Zee Bridge Leaves 5-Mile Long Fuel Slick

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino addresses the media regarding the pre-dawn tragedy on the Hudson River that has left one dead and two missing. Photo Credit: Contributed
Rescue boats from several agencies at the scene of the collision early Saturday morning. Photo Credit: WABC 7 screen grab

This story has been updated.

Emergency crews are continuing their search for two men who remain missing after a fatal collision near the Tappan Zee Bridge early Saturday morning.

One man was killed in the accident in which a tugboat named Specialist traveling on the West Nyack side of the new Tappan Zee Bridge construction site hit a stationary barge just before dawn.

One man pulled after the tugboat has survived, according to authorities. He has not been identified.

After striking the barge, the tugboat began leaking up to 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel, creating a fuel slick approximately 100 yards wide and 5 miles long.

Local law enforcement deployed a fuel-containing apparatus to the water due to a visible sheen. Westchester County has initiated a cleanup agreement with a private party, Miller Environmental Group, to manage the diesel spill. Personnel from the State Department of Environment Conservation's Oil Spill Team are on the scene to monitor and support the cleanup with two DEC vessels – a 31 foot with a crew of three and a 44 foot with a crew of three.

The State Department of Environmental Conservation and a private contractor have deployed a Rapid Response Team and monitoring equipment to contain leaking fuel from the sunken tug. 

The tugboat, which was not involved with the new TZB construction projected, was escorting a barge with a crane and two other tugboats and traveling south toward Jersey City at the time of the accident.

"Today's accident was a tragedy, and we offer our thoughts are prayers to loved ones of the crew members aboard the tugboat," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "The state is actively working with our partners in law enforcement in locating the missing crew members and minimizing environmental damage along the Hudson River. We will conduct a full investigation to understand exactly what led to today's events and provide more information as it becomes available."

Tappan Zee Constructors, the builders of the bridge replacement, had a crew of 21 workers on their barge at the time; none were injured when the tugboat struck. 

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