Vicksburg, Miss.-based Magnolia Marine Transport Company (MMT), issued a statement following the final hearing by the National Transportation Safety Board, (NTSB), in Washington, D.C., on the company’s part in the collapse of the Webbers Falls Arkansas River bridge in Oklahoma in May 2002.
Stan Humphreys, senior vice president of MMT, stated “On behalf of Magnolia Marine, we would like to express our profound regret about the damage and tragic loss of life caused by the I-40 Bridge accident. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families of the people who died or were injured in the accident. The accident has likewise taken an emotional toll on the families and owners of Magnolia Marine.
“We are grateful for the fast response and heroic efforts of the local emergency response teams, including the Oklahoma Highway patrol, the local fire department and emergency personnel that participated in the search and rescue efforts.
“We sincerely appreciate the important work conducted by the NTSB in this investigation.
“We have worked alongside the NTSB throughout this investigation to determine the cause of this accident and, more importantly, the recommendations that can help prevent similar accidents and the tragic results from happening again in the future.
“We agree in large measure with the NTSB’s analysis of the facts leading to the accident and we have already implemented many of the safety board’s recommendations. For example, we were the first company in our industry to install pilot incapacitation detection devices on our entire fleet of towboats. This technology developed in the aftermath of the accident monitors our pilots and alerts the crew in the event the pilot becomes incapacitated.
“We will evaluate the NTSB recommendations that we have not previously implemented and determine how they might fit into our safety program.
“At Magnolia Marine, we take safety of our crew and the traveling public seriously. We will continue to review our operations to insure that we are a leader in safety in the inland towing industry.”
Magnolia Marine Transport, founded in 1969, operates approximately 15 towboats and more than 60 barges, specializing in the transport of asphalt products on the Mississippi River system and intra-coastal waterways of the Gulf of Mexico.
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