Coast Guard Investigates Cause of McTeer Bridge Collision

BEAUFORT, S.C. — The following is a time line of events leading up to the collision of a crane and the McTeer Bridge in Beaufort April 27.

The tug Sara Kaitlin with multiple barges, including one with an attached crane, departed Charleston, S.C., en route to Savannah on the evening of April 26.

Vessels traveling on the intracoastal water way in the area have to pass under four fixed bridges with a clearance of 65 feet at high tide.

Sara Kaitlin passed under the first bridge, the Limehouse Bridge, at 1:45 a.m. April 27 without incident. The Sara Kaitlin then met up with the tug William Breckinridge to split up the towing of the barges, which left Sara Kaitlin towing a single barge, with the crane, and dredge pipe.

The crane on the barge was used to assist in splitting the tow and then was re-stowed. The Sara Kaitlin and William Breckinridge continued their transit south and at 9:20 a.m. went under the Dawho River Bridge, outside of Edisto, S.C., without incident.

Sara Kaitlin passed under the McTeer Bridge and the crane on the barge struck the bridge at 7:30 p.m. Sara Kaitlin continued its transit without further incident to Savannah after ensuring the incident was reported to the local authorities.

The Coast Guard continues to investigate the incident and is gathering the details of crane use, stowage procedures and potential tidal influences to determine the cause of the crane striking the McTeer Bridge.

Savannah Marine Services Inc. owns both the Sara Kaitlin and the William Breckinridge. CML Equipment Company LLC owns the barges and equipment.

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