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1 Body Recovered, 1 Still Missing After Boating Accident; Driver Faces Felony Charges

Presumed dead is 30-year Lindsey Stewart of Piermont, who was set to be married in two-week's time.

By Ryan Buncher and Kevin Zawacki

Rescue authorities on the Hudson River Saturday afternoon found a body that likely belongs to the 30-year-old Piermont woman who went missing after a boating accident Friday.

Four people were injured and two went missing when a speedboat slammed into a construction barge near the Tappan Zee Bridge late Friday night. The search for the other missing person, Mark Lennon of Pearl River, is expected to resume Sunday morning, though police are calling it a recovery mission rather than a rescue at this point.

At noon on Saturday, a legion of rescue authorities were sweeping the bridge's shadow in hopes of locating the still-missing boaters. At about 12:45 p.m., just before a press conference on the tip of Piermont Pier, authorities with the Rockland Sheriff discovered a body off the Piermont shoreline.

"It matches the description of [Lindsey Stewart]," William Barbera, a chief with the Rockland County Sheriff's Department, told Patch.

Barbera said they could not confirm the victim's identity, and are waiting on word from the medical examiners office. Official confirmation could come as late as Monday, Barbera said.

"We have seven police agencies and six fire departments out here," Barbera added, noting the search for the remaining missing boater will resume Sunday.

The boat's driver -- Jojo John of Nyack -- has been charged with one count of vehicular manslaughter in the first degree, and three counts of vehicular assault in the third degree, all felonies. John was one of the four injured who were rescued after the crash.

Carol Stewart told WABC-TV that her daughter, 30-year-old Lindsey Stewart of Piermont, was one of those missing. She said Stewart, who was originally from Pearl River, was due to be married Aug. 10. Lennon was to be the best man in the wedding. 

The bride-to-be's husband, Brian Bond of Pearl River, was one of the survivors plucked from the water, media reports have confirmed. Bond's father sits on the Pearl River school board, Patch learned.

The boat had been heading across the Hudson River from Piermont to Tarrytown. The four injured people were taken to Westchester Medical Center.

Barbera told Patch that dozens of boats were combing the Hudson's waters beginning on Friday night. The search effort had a respite from 2:30 a.m. to about 9 a.m. Saturday morning.

"It [was] dark, there are safety issues," Barbera said. "It gave everyone a chance to regroup."

Officials with the Thruway and bridge told Patch there were no safety issues or risks with the barge.

"At this point, Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) has reported to the Thruway Authority that all Coast Guard lighting requirements were met and that the barges were properly lit Friday night," said Brian Conybeare, special advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo for the New New York Bridge Project. "All lighting was checked Saturday morning and is fully operational at all barge locations associated with the project.

In the wake of the tragedy, bridge officials said they are conducting an internal review of safety measures linked to the construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge.

"The New York State Thruway Authority is conducting its own review of safety procedures on the Hudson River as part of the New New York Bridge Project,"Conybeare said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families at this difficult time," he added.

Bridge construction planned for Saturday has been called off.

Friday night's tragedy comes just days after a fatal five-car wreck on the Tappan Zee Bridge that claimed the life of a 57-year-old Hillcrest woman.

Witnesses to the crash's wreckage told Patch the aftermath looked like hunks of twisted metal, not vehicles.
and maggie...this whole scenario involving the barges overshadows simple rules..we have a historic bridge reconstruction that is taking place...so 50 year old rules will not encompass this for sure....the sounds of the pilings alone being driven will more than likey destroy everyday normality to soo many residents.......the vibrations will cause many homeowners to be very unhappy for the next few years..old rules will not even come close to what this bridge reconstruction is going to cause
John Anderson July 28, 2013 at 01:33 PM
Perhaps it's time to ban boats of this type from operating "fast" between dusk and dawn ??? A similar accident occurred last year by Red hook at 4:30 AM (dark) killing 4 and injuring 2. NY lawmakers are so slow.
John Warner July 28, 2013 at 03:44 PM
The only applicable rule at the time of tragedy is to respect all involved and prayers for the victims and their families. There will be plenty of time for a full investigation. To basically copy & paste maritime law helps nobody except the writer. The law that trumps all laws is to show respect & love for those that are hurting and in pain.
John Warner July 28, 2013 at 03:48 PM
PS. I am a licensed & certified captain.
Maggie24 July 28, 2013 at 04:25 PM
As am I, John, and agree with you. As I said earlier, a complete tragedy--one that others may hopefully avoid.

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