Wednesday, January 12, 2005
The Havre De Grace, Md.-based tug had pushed a barge filled with rocks to be used to build a bulkhead, To a construction site on Pea Patch Island's east side. A two-man crew was trying to secure the barge when the accident occurred. The Captain told investigators that as they were securing the vessel about 6:15 a.m., he cautioned the two Sailors to walk on the inside of the barge because it was icy. Francis "Don" Starr, 48, was on the barge and slipped off and went overboard, A New Castle Emergency Management spokesman said. At that point, the barge broke loose from the mooring and started to drift to the north side of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. The Coast Guard, state police and firefighters from several jurisdictions combed the river until 10 a.m. before calling off the search. At the time, the air temperature was 14 degrees, with winds gusting between 24 mph and 31 mph. The body of Francis Starr, was spotted at the shoreline around 3:30 p.m. the following day by the U.S. Coast Guard, which was searching an area. Francis Starr was a former U.S. Marine and spent nine years involved with the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets, at Fort Dix. He was a lieutenant junior grade when he left the program earlier this year. His involvement in the Navy program was one reason he enjoyed his job as a deckhand. "He likes the water, He likes being on the water."