Two FBI employees killed in Ohio River boat tragedy

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating a fatal Thursday night collision between a towboat and a small pleasure craft on the Ohio River near Cincinnati that left two FBI employees dead.

The two people onboard the boat were killed when it allegedly struck a 600-foot barge being pushed by the towboat between Cincinnati and Newport, Kentucky. A statement from the FBI confirmed that those killed were FBI employees.

“It is with great sadness that we advise that two FBI employees were involved in a tragic accident late last night that claimed their lives,” the FBI said in a statement Friday.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Ohio River Valley received notification of the incident from the Bellvue-Dayton Fire Department, who conducted initial response efforts along with Cincinnati Fire Department and Newport Fire Department. The Coast Guard responded by issuing an urgent marine information broadcast to boaters and establishing a safety zone in the vicinity of the incident.

“We offer deepest condolences to the family and friends affected by this incident,” said Capt. Richard Timme, Commander, Sector Ohio Valley. “The Coast Guard will conduct a thorough investigation of the incident.”

A report from the local Cincinnati Enquirer said that the towboat Captain was at the helm when the collision occurred and saw the entire thing. The report said that the boaters presumably didn’t see the barge when they crossed right in front of the vessel.

The two victims, both males, were found deceased onboard the boat when first responders arrived, according to reports.

The investigation is looking into whether alcohol and speed played a factor in accident.

The accident is under investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard and Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, with assistance from the Cincinnati Police.

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