Accidents Prompt Warnings for Boaters Near Dams

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
8 August 2011

Eight boaters and passengers are lucky to be alive after three nighttime boating accidents at dams on the Ohio and Allegheny rivers in recent days, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said today.

"We`re unbelievably fortunate that all of those folks survived," said Col. Butch Graham, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In those incidents — on July 30, and on Friday and Saturday nights — boaters either ran into or spilled over dams.

In the most recent mishap, on Saturday night, five people were pulled from the water after their boat went over the Highland Park Dam on the Allegheny River. They were lucky, Graham said.

Two people drowned near the same dam in a similar accident in 2006, an official with Allegheny County's Swift Water and Flood Response Team said.

At a press conference at the dam today, Corps of Engineers officials urged boaters to take safe boating courses, explore waterways during the day if they are unfamiliar with them and wear life jackets.