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Nighttime cruise proves fatal

A boating accident Sunday night on the Monongahela River near Crucible, Pa., again makes evident the importance of boating safety while in commercial zones.

A dive team Monday afternoon recovered the bodies of John Bodnar, 39, and Tom Starkey, 45, in the river near the area where Bodnar’s 23-foot boat collided with a barge around 8 p.m. Sunday, according to the local newspaper, the Observer-Reporter. Additional details about the boat, such as make and model, were not immediately available. The men were pronounced dead Monday by the Greene County Deputy Coroner.

Also aboard at the time of the collision were Bodnar’s wife, Nanette, who is 38, and Kim Guseman, 45. The women were pulled from the water by a passing houseboat shortly after the accident happened, news reports say. Nanette Bodnar reportedly suffered a concussion and Guseman suffered a compound leg fracture. Both were taken to area hospitals for treatment.

The four boaters were apparently returning to a private dock near Millsboro, Pa., when their boat collided with a barge in a six-barge tow in the middle of the river, the U.S. Coast Guard says. Bodnar’s boat is said to have been traveling downriver and the barges traveling upriver at the time of the accident.

“Recreational boaters should remain vigilant when on the water,” says Lt. Justin Covert with the U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Safety unit in Pittsburgh, Pa. “There is a substantial amount of commercial traffic on the river. It’s important for recreational and commercial boaters alike to practice good seamanship and to act responsibly.”

The Coast Guard and the state Fish and Boat Commission are investigating the cause of the accident.

Jason Fell