PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (CBS) – Two crew members had just seconds to escape a sinking tugboat before the strong current of the Piscataqua River pulled it under water.
“It was frightening it was like watching a plane crash,” said Bruce Addison who shot video of the scene from his office.
The boat can be seen rocking back and forth taking on water. It quickly begins to turn onto it’s side and sinks. The video shows the two crew members scrambling out of the tugboat and onto a nearby barge.
“The boat was basically on it’s side and two people jumped out and were able to get on the barge which was amazing,” Addison said. “Then you start going, my God I hope there wasn’t three people on it.”
Ed Valliere of Riverside and Pickering Marine Contractors owns the tugboat. He said his crew credits divine intervention for their escape.
“The deck hand said an angel grabbed him and took him and placed him on the keel as the boat rolled over,” he said.
It wasn’t easy for him to watch video of his boat sinking. “It feels like a death in the family seeing that tug roll over.”
The tug boat is now at the bottom of the river. But whether the credit goes to angels or just quick reactions, the two crew members are safely on shore.
“Neither of them even got wet and just thank God they’re alive. It could have been a catastrophe,” said Valliere.
Divers are expected to help recover the tugboat Thursday. What caused the boat to sink is still under investigation.
This is the second tugboat to sink this year in this section of the river. Both boats were working on the Memorial Bridge project.