Friday, March 11, 2005

Towboat Crewman Drowned

A Greene County man, whose body was found in the Elizabeth M. towboat that was recovered Friday, died from drowning, a deputy Beaver County coroner said. Rick Conklin, 40, of Crucible and three other Crewmen on the Elizabeth M. were killed Jan. 9 when the towboat washed over the dam at the Montgomery Locks and Dam in Industry. The boat had remained lodged on the downriver side of the dam until Friday, when a salvage company raised it and recovered Conklin's body from the engine room. Chief Deputy Coroner Renea Esoldo said an autopsy revealed that Conklin, an apprentice pilot on the boat, died from asphyxiation due to drowning. The body will be released to Conklin's family members, who are planning a funeral with military honors. Conklin was a veteran of the Persian Gulf War.
The towboat Elizabeth M in better days

The towboat Elizabeth M is towed down the Ohio River near Industry, Pa. after the body of crewman Rick Conklin was recovered aboard earlier in the day on Friday. Three other crewmen were killed when the boat sank Jan. 9 just downriver from the Montgomery Island Dam, about 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. Three crewmen survived.

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