Inspectors: Trawler imparts little damage to Harbor River Bridge from shrimp boat accident

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comMay 8, 2012 

Some damage can be seen on the side of the shrimp boat Brown-Eyed Girl, which hit the Harbor River Bridge on Monday night. The boat was photographed on Tuesday docked at the Gay Seafood Company on St. Helena Island. Damage to the bridge was minimal.

JAY KARR

The Harbor River Bridge sustained only minor damage Monday night after it was hit by a shrimp boat, state transportation officials say.

Inspectors from the S.C. Department of Transportation examined the bridge, which connects St. Helena Island to Harbor Island, for structural damage Tuesday after it was rammed by the Brown Eyed Girl, and found no major problems, said Gary Kinard, spokesman for the agency's bridge division.

The shrimp boat "knocked out the navigation light on the bridge," Kinard said. "There was really no other damage."

The accident occurred at about 8:30 p.m. as the Brown Eyed Girl was being towed back to St. Helena Island by another shrimp boat, Four Girls 2, and the tow cable snapped, injuring one member aboard the towing vessel, who was hit in the face with the severed line, authorities said.

An update on his condition was unavailable Tuesday, though authorities said his injuries are thought to be non-life-threatening.

The three crew members on the Brown Eyed Girl were unharmed and remained on the boat during the rescue.

Though a rising tide caused the shrimp boat to take on water, the vessel was freed about two hours after hitting the bridge and was towed to Gay Seafood Co. on St. Helena Island, where it was docked Tuesday.

The accident caused authorities to close the bridge for more than two hours Monday night before reopening it about 10:40 p.m.

The bridge remained open throughout Tuesday, Kinard said.

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