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Tugboat Captain Falls Ill, Dies While Trying To Dock In Hudson River

The captain of the Hudson River tugboat "Pilgrim" was taken ill and died late Monday as he was trying to dock the vessel in Haverstraw.
The captain of the Hudson River tugboat "Pilgrim" was taken ill and died late Monday as he was trying to dock the vessel in Haverstraw. Photo Credit: Rockland County Sheriff's Officee

HAVERSTRAW, N.Y. -- The 50-year-old captain of a tugboat suffered a medical emergency and died as he was trying to dock the vessel in Haverstraw on the Hudson River late Monday, March 28, according to the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s Marine Unit was called to the tugboat Pilgrim around 9:55 p.m. The boat was being used in the Tappan Zee bridge project.

A crew member was performing CPR on the unresponsive victim, police said. Officers relieved the crew member and continued to try to resuscitate the man, the sheriff’s office said.

Police identified the captain as Edward T Smith, 50, of Norwalk, Conn.

Smith was attempting to dock the tugboat at the time he fell ill, but other crew members took over and there was no damage to the vessel, according to media reports.

The Westchester County Police Marine Unit and the Stony Point Fire Department also responded to the scene. Smith was taken by emergency medical crews to Nyack Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Earlier this month, three members of a different tugboat were killed when it crashed into a stationary barge near the Tappan Zee bridge.

Killed were Timothy Conklin, 29, of Westbury on Long Island; Paul Amon, of Bayville, N.J.; and Harry Hernandez of Staten Island.

Authorities weren’t able to recover Hernandez’s body until Thursday, March 24, because of the damaged condition of the tugboat, named Specialist.

Marine salvage units and a giant crane had to be called to lift the tug out of the Hudson River.

After it sunk, Specialist leaked thousands of gallons of diesel fuel into the river, creating an enormous slick.

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