CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — National Transportation and Safety Board investigators have released a preliminary report outlining the events that led up to a dredge explosion in the Port of Corpus Christi on Aug. 21.
The report finds that the incident was caused by a series of events that began when the Waymon L. Boyd dredging vessel reportedly hit an underwater propane pipeline and ended in the deaths of four of its crew after the dredge originally caught fire.
The dredge, owned by Orion Marine Group, reportedly hit a 16-inch pipeline at 8:05 a.m. in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel's Inner Harbor, causing gas and water to shoot into the air. The gas ignited reportedly ignited, causing an explosion aboard the Waymon L. Boyd. The report does not state how the gas ignited.
The fire also spread to the inner harbor's shoreline.
It also states the fire reignited later that night, precipitating the dredge sinking overnight.
Eighteen Orion Marine Group employees were working on the dredge the morning of the explosion. Six of 14 crew members were airlifted to burn units in San Antonio. Four crew members died.
The pipeline is owned by Enterprise Products Operating, LLC, and it is estimated about 6,000 barrels of propane were released before crews were able to isolate the line.
Pieces of the pipeline and the Waymon L. Boyd have been transported to NTSB labs for further examination.