Salvage crews recover missing crewmember from sunken tug J.R. Nichols

HOUSTON – A salvage crew working to raise the tug baot that sank in the Houston Ship Channel recovered what is believed to be the vessel’s missing crewmember Thursday.

The victim, a man, was found deceased by divers from TNT Marine, a salvage company hired to dive on the vessel early this afternoon.

The command center at Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston received a call at 10:30 p.m., Wednesday, stating that the 56-foot tug boat had sank in the shipping channel near the Sims Bayou turning basin with five people on board. Four of the five were recovered from the water by good Samaritan vessels and then transported to a local hospital by EMS. The four men displayed symptoms of hypothermia. One crew member, however, had remained missing.

The cause of death is under investigation by the County Medical Examiner’s Office. The incident itself is under investigation by the Coast Guard and local authorities.

The shipping channel remains closed from the Sims Bayou turning basin to the Vopak facility until the vessel is salvaged and relocated.

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