Report: Human error caused Iowa towboat to sink


LECLAIRE, Iowa (AP) — A federal agency says crew members were likely at fault in the sinking of a towboat in the Mississippi River near LeClaire in November.

The Quad-City Times reports ( ) the National Transportation Safety Board released its report Thursday.

The board found probable cause that the Stephen L. Colby, towboat master and mate were at fault in the sinking. It says the crew failed to provide enough space between the boat’s hull and the riverbed.

The U.S. Coast Guard reports the towboat hit an underwater rock, which spilled some of the 91,000 gallons of petroleum products aboard the vessel.

A crew collected 39,900 gallons of oily water over two weeks amid frigid and gusty conditions. There haven’t been reports of wildlife death because of the spill.

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