Two People Dead, Two Missing, Six Injured After Corpus Christi Pipeline Explosion

Coast Guard crews respond to a dredge on fire in the Port of Corpus Christi Ship Channel, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Authorities say several people have been hospitalized after an explosion at the Texas port when a dredging vessel hit a natural gas pipeline in the water. (U.S. Coast Guard via AP) AP

A submerged pipeline that exploded and a fire on board a dredging vessel on Friday left two crew members dead and two others missing in Corpus Christi, Texas, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The bodies of two crew members from the vessel — named the Waymon L. Boyd from the Orion Marine Group — were recovered on Saturday morning. The Coast Guard is continuing to search for the two missing crew members, said Edward Gaynor, the captain of the U.S. Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi.

Those killed were not publicly identified. Six people were hospitalized, with some being treated for burns, the authorities said.

Officials were notified about a fire at the Port of Corpus Christi around 8 a.m. on Friday. Lt. Marina Lawrence of the Coast Guard said that although it was clear that a submerged pipeline exploded and that the fire and the pipeline explosion were related, the cause remained unclear and was under investigation.

Agencies offered conflicting accounts, however, about the explosion.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said on Friday that a barge struck a propane pipeline. The Port of Corpus Christi said it was a natural gas pipeline, the television station KSAT reported.

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SOURCE: The New York Times, Christina Morales