Prison Crew Boat, Tugboat Collide, 20 Reported Injured

(BATON ROUGE, LA) -- Twenty people are reported injured, two of them seriously, after a crew boat transporting employees of Angola State Penitentiary collided with a tugboat pushing barges, a prison spokeswoman said.

The injured included 18 Angola employees and two crew members.

Captain Randy Metz, of the West Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Department says the captain of the crewboat reported that bright sunlight prevented him from seeing the tugboat. The tugboat was pushing to barges at the time.

The employees were first taken to the prison hospital, and 12 were transferred to other hospitals. The two most seriously injured were flown for treatment.

Prison spokeswoman Kathy Fontenot says the collision occurred at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday during a shift change at the sprawling plantation prison.

The crewboat was leaving the penitentiary and heading across the Mississippi River at the time of the collision. The crewboat left the dock at Angola just before the collision. The crewboat returned to the dock at Angola after the collision.

West Feliciana Parish Sheriff Austin Daniel says no one went into the river.

Normally, the maximum-security prison uses a ferry to take workers and their vehicles back and forth from the west side of the river to the prison on the east side. But crewboats - typically used to move workers to offshore petroleum platforms - had been used recently because of the high water.

The Coast Guard says all people aboard the vessels have been accounted for. Relatives of the victims are being notified, Fontenot said. 

The crew boat transport will NOT be available Monday. Employees must drive to the prison by vehicle.

Report: WAFB, Baton Rouge