The vessel was a 152-foot-long cutter-head suction dredge that reportedly struck a submerged 16-inch liquid propane pipeline during early morning dredging operations in Corpus Christi, Texas. A gas plume erupted from the pipeline, eventually catching fire and consuming the vessel. Eighteen Orion Marine Group employees were working on the dredge and assist boats on the day of the accident. Four crew members were tragically killed, and six others suffered burn injuries.
NTSB investigators collected documents and interviewed the surviving crew members as well as company personnel from Orion. An underwater inspection on August 24 found two wall breaches in the pipeline and mechanical damage. The dredge’s cutter-head has been recovered and will be examined. The investigation is ongoing. The NTSB has not yet determined the probable cause of the incident.
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