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UPDATE: All Four Bodies Found after Corpus Christi Explosion

A private contract dredging vessel hit a propane pipeline in the Corpus Christi ship channel Aug. 21, killing four people and injuring six others. Cleanup continued on Monday, Aug. 24, as the U.S. Coast Guard called off the search for the bodies of two of the four presumed dead. Screen captured image

UPDATE 3:30 p.m. August 24, 2020: U.S. Coast Guard salvage crews recovered the bodies of the two remaining missing crew members of the Waymon L. Boyd, a dredging vessel that hit a propane pipeline and burst into flames Friday, August 21. All missing crew members are accounted for and family members have been notified.

They were found after a portion of the dredging vessel was recovered from the middle of the Corpus Christi ship channel.

"We are devastated by the loss of four of our colleagues, each of whom has been a valuable part of the Orion team for many years," said Mark Stauffer, CEO, Orion Marine Group, which owns the vessel. "Our heartfelt prayers and sympathy are extended to their families and friends, and we ask that everyone please respect their privacy as we all work to recover from this terrible incident.”


The U.S. Coast Guard called off its search for two missing men following an explosion and fire in the Corpus Christi ship channel on Friday, Aug. 21. The bodies of another two men were recovered Aug. 22 by the Coast Guard. Two people were treated at Christus Spohn Hospital Shoreline. Another four were taken to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio for treatment of severe burns.

Work continues in the channel to clean up pollution and salvage a dredging vessel, the Waymon L. Boyd, that struck a propane pipeline, causing the explosion. The vessel was engulfed in flames. The incident is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The dredging vessel was a private contract dredge and not part of the Port of Corpus Christi’s ship channel improvement project, officials reported.

So far, about 1,600 gallons of diesel fuel were removed from the water. Another 680 gallons of diesel fuel and water were skimmed off the top. A reported 6,000 gallons were spilled.

A piece of the Waymon L. Boyd was found in the middle of the channel and is being removed.

The ship channel was reopened with certain restrictions from Chemical Basin to Viola Basin, according to Port of Corpus Christi CEO Sean Strawbridge.

“While the search and rescue mission for the lost crewmen of the Waymon L. Boyd has concluded, the suffering of the injured crew members and the families of those lost still endures,” he said in a statement. “Our heartfelt prayers are with them all.”

Assisting in the recovery are the Port of Corpus Christi and the Incident Management Team, Orion MarineGroup, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Corps o Engineers, the Texas General Land Office, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

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