Pleasure boat sank after collision with convoy of tug Elbe 1, pushing two container barges, in Elbe River near Gauert in Ochsenwerder, Germany. Following collision, the 10-meter pleasure boat with two people on board capsized and sank. The skipper of the boat succeeded to jump into the cold river and was rescued by the crew of tug Elbe 1. The another passenger, 55-year-old man, went missing. The accident was reported to the local authorities and was started large-scale search and rescue operation, engaging 13 boats, helicopter and 260 rescue forces of police and fire brigade. The search area was expanded on a length of four kilometers down the river, but the missing person was not found. During the night, the SAR was suspended, deciding that there is no chance to find the missing man alive.
“The recreation boat was completely destroyed”, said the fire brigade spokesman, Torsten Wessely. “The skipper saved himself jumping into the cold Elbe and suffered only minor injuries. Another person was below the deck at the time of the accident he is missing. The search is made more difficult by the darkness, the cold water of the Elbe and the current”, added he.
The local authorities started investigation for the root cause of the collision. The tug’s convoy was anchored at Oortkaten and the police officers took witness evidences from the crew. The cause of the accident was still unclear, possible the barge convoy got into the wrong shipping lane. At the time of the collision it was perpendicular to the river and threatened to run aground.
The traffic on Elbe River was hampered during the collision and SAR operations, but there is no serious congestion.
The pusher tug Elbe 1 has overall length of 27.00 m, moulded beam of 8.00 m and maximum draft of 2.50 m. The vessel is operating under the flag of Germany.