Orion Group Marine Barge Explosion Lawyer

Dredge Strikes Pipeline Resulting in Explosion & Fire

At 8 a.m. on Friday, August 21, a submerged pipeline in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel was hit by the Waymon L Boyd, a dredging vessel owned by Houston-based Orion Marine Group.

After the dredge hit the propane pipeline, a massive explosion occurred, which resulted in a fire on the dredge and a nearby grain elevator.

Eight workers were injured in the blast, with two being treated at the scene and six being taken to local hospitals and burn units, including Corpus Christi Medical Center-Bay Area and Christus Spohn Hospital Shoreline in Corpus Christi, TX, as well as Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX.

At the time of the incident, the Waymon L Boyd had been working on a private project for a client. The dredge had not been involved in the Corpus Christi ship channel improvement project.

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Four Crew Members Missing After Corpus Christi Explosion

Four workers were reported missing after the explosion. The Coast Guard launched an immediate search and were able to recover the bodies of two of the workers at approximately 2 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. on Saturday. Later that afternoon, they announced that they had suspended the search.

“The decision to suspend a search is never easy and a lot of factors are considered before suspending a search,” said Edward Gaynor, the captain of the U.S. Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi. “We extend our heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of the missing crew members during this difficult time.”

Three days after the initial explosion in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, the bodies of the last two missing crew members were recovered. They were found during salvage operations on the afternoon of Monday, August 24, after a portion of the Waymon L Boyd was recovered from the middle of the channel.

The families of the four workers who lost their lives are facing futures unlike anything they could have imagined. Their loved ones were "part of the Orion team for many years," according to Orion Marine Group CEO Mark Stauffer. They worked hard to earn a living doing one of the most dangerous jobs, and now they have paid the ultimate price. It's essential to understand why.

What Caused the Barge Explosion?

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is currently investigating the cause of the Waymon L Boyd pipeline collision. At a press conference two days after the incident, the vice president of corporate business development at Orion Marine Group, Marshall Deluca, said that there were visible aids showing the pipeline’s location—as per safety regulations. Whether it was due to operator error, equipment malfunction, or other, this will be revealed by a thorough investigation into the evidence.

In a catastrophe like this one, determining cause is crucial. If we understand the precise circumstances that led to the initial collision and resulting explosion and fire, we can hold the at-fault parties accountable—and expose the safety violations or acts of negligence they committed. We can help families who lost loved ones get answers and experience some closure in seeing justice served. We can help those who were injured get the full and fair compensation they need to rebuild their lives.

Demanding Justice for Victims of Serious Explosions

At Arnold & Itkin LLP, we are committed to helping the victims of catastrophic explosions fight for the justice they deserve. We have a history of getting results—including in some of the most complex cases in U.S. history. For example, when the Geismar plant exploded in 2013, we helped those impacted. In the end, we reached two massive verdicts for our clients, helping them recover more than $30 million total.

If the recent Corpus Christi explosion impacted you or someone you love, we want you to know we’re here for you. Our firm is passionate about helping people recover after tragedies such as this—ensuring that not only are the companies responsible held accountable but that those who suffered the most get the help they need in the aftermath. Our legal help has resulted in clients recovering billions of dollars in some of the largest verdicts and settlements in history. Call us today to learn about your legal options.

Take the first step toward recovery today. Call (888) 493-1629 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a member of the Arnold & Itkin LLP team.

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