Bayou Hunting Boat Accident

14 January 1998

A 28-foot aluminum boat carrying 7 duck hunters struck the 110-foot oil rig crew boat Gear Tide 110 miles west of New Orleans early Wednesday (Jan 14). Six are dead including a woman, two very prominent businessmen, and 3 guides. We have several items of coverage of this accident. More details will follow as they become available.

6 hunters missing after boats collide in bayou

CNN
14 January 1998
Web posted at: 8:22 p.m. EST
INTRACOASTAL CITY, Louisiana (AP) -- Six hunters were missing Wednesday after their boat collided with another vessel and sank in a bayou.

One man on the hunters' boat was rescued by passengers on the other vessel and taken to a hospital with a broken leg, the Coast Guard said.

The missing hunters -- five men and a woman who were not immediately identified -- were aboard a 25- to 28-foot aluminum boat when it collided with a crew boat, which is used to transport workers to offshore oil rigs.

The accident took place just before daybreak about 110 miles west of New Orleans. The Coast Guard sent helicopters and a cutter to look for the hunters.

Copyright 1998   The Associated Press
© 1998 Cable News Network, Inc.

Boating Accident Kills 5 Hunters

WWL TV Channel 4
New Orleans
Wednesday January 14, 1998 8:13 pm
An aluminum boat carrying seven hunters collided with an oil rig crew vessel near Vermilion Bay in Southwest Louisiana. Five of the hunters died. One hunter was injured and one is still missing. Among the hunters were three prominent out-of-state businessmen and three Louisiana residents.

The following is a list of people on the hunting boat at the time of the accident: Matt Dobson of Franklin, Tennessee; T. Wayne Robertson of Winston-Salem, NC; Dan and Margaret Maddox of Nashville, TN; Norman Stelly and Aladin Stelly of Forked Island, LA; and Brian Vincent of Intercoastal City, LA.

47-year-old T. Wayne Robertson is the president of sports and marketing for the R.J. Reynolds tobacco company. Dan Maddox is the former CEO of Gulf Western's financial companies.

Authorities have not released the indentities of the five victims or the missing person. Matt Dobson of Franklin, Tennessee survived the crash with a broken leg. He is hospitalized in stable condition.

Authorities have not determined what caused the two boats to collide.

Copyright  1997 WWL-TV Inc.

5 Die As Boats Collide in Bayou

AP
15 Jan 1998 07:02 EST
INTRACOASTAL CITY, La. (AP) -- The Coast Guard searched a Louisiana bayou early today for a woman who vanished when a boat of duck hunters collided with a vessel four times its size. Five fellow hunters were killed.

Seven hunters were aboard the 28-foot aluminum boat that struck the 110-foot oil rig crew boat Gear Tide early Wednesday. An injured hunter was pulled from the water by people on the crew boat.

The dead were pulled from the sunken hunting boat hours after the accident in Freshwater Bayou, 30 miles southwest of New Iberia. No one aboard the larger boat was injured.

The Gear Tide had left Freshwater City with 25 workers for an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, said William O'Malley, chief executive of Tidewater Inc., the boat's owner. It had turned back because of bad weather.

It was raining at the time of the early evening collision. The Coast Guard said visibility was about a mile.

Among those killed was T. Wayne Robertson, 47, of Winston-Salem, N.C., the president of sports marketing enterprises for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. He supervised sports programs, including the NASCAR Winston Cup series and the Vantage golf tournaments, a company spokesman said.

Also killed was former Gulf & Western executive Dan Maddox, 88, of Nashville, Tenn., the Coast Guard said. His wife, Margaret Maddox, 68, was missing.

Also killed were three guides -- brothers Norman and Aladdin Stelly of Forked Island and Bryant Vincent of Intracoastal City.

The injured hunter, Matt Dobson of Franklin, Tenn., was in stable condition with a broken leg at an area hospital.

Copyright 1998 Associated Press

BOAT COLLISION

TV Newscast Script
WBRZ Chanel 2, Baton Rouge LA
Noon 15 Jan 1998
IN OTHER NEWS, THE SEARCH IS OVER FOR A TENNESSE WOMAN AFTER A BOATING ACCIDENT YERSTERDAY.

AUTHORITIES SAY JUST BEFORE ELEVEN THIS MORNING, THE COAST GUARD RETRIVIED THE BODY OF MARGARET MADDOX

THE BOAT COLLISION HAPPENED YESTERDAY MORNING IN VERMILION BAY.30 MILES SOUTHWEST OF NEW IBERIA.

AN ALUMINUM BOAT CARRYING THE HUNTERS COLLIDED WITH A MUCH LARGER OIL RIG CREW BOAT.

FIVE OF THE HUNTERS DIED, ANOTHER IS MISSING AND THE SEVENTH SURVIVED WITH A BROKEN LEG. NONE OF THE DEAD ARE FROM THE BATON ROUGE AREA.

AMONG THE DEAD, WAS T. WAYNE ROBERTSON--ROBERTSON WAS THE PRESIDENT OF SPORTS MARKETING FOR R.J. REYNOLDS TOBACCO COMPANY.

U.S. tobacco executive killed in boat accident

Reuters
03:37 p.m Jan 15, 1998 Eastern
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Reuters) - An R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. executive credited with forging multi-million dollar ties between the cigarette industry and auto racing was killed early Wednesday in a boating accident, the company said Thursday.

T. Wayne Robertson, president of the cigarette-maker's sports marketing arm, died when a 28-foot boat he and six others had taken out on a duck hunting trip collided with an oil rig supply boat in a Louisiana bayou about 110 miles west of Louisiana. He was 48.

``Wayne was an innovator who created and directed sports marketing programs that were vital to the success of our company,'' Andy Schindler, president of Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., said in a statement.

Robertson joined R.J. Reynolds in 1971, driving a show car adorned with Winston cigarette logos in parade laps before races. That same year, R.J. Reynolds stepped in to sponsor the major stock car racing circuit as Detroit automakers were pulling out, a company spokesman said.

By the time Robertson was named a company vice president in 1987, the Winston Cup series had accelerated Nascar's growth as a national sport and made cigarette advertising synonymous with stock car racing.

``He has to be credited as much as anyone in the growth of the Nascar Winston Cup series. His efforts were tireless in working with the sanctioning body and the sport's drivers, teams and tracks to grow the sport,'' Nascar President Bill France said.

The bodies of Robertson and four other victims were found Wednesday evening in the cabin of their 28-foot boat -- the Mallard -- when a jack-up oil rig was used to pull it from 12 feet of water.

The boat sank when it collided with a 110-foot oil supply vessel during a rainstorm just before dawn Wednesday. Visibility at the time was down to a mile, but it was not known if that contributed to the accident.

Divers from the Vermillion County sheriff's department recovered the sixth victim from Freshwater Bayou on Thursday after a search that began early on Wednesday, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard said the Freshwater Bayou Canal, which connects to the Intracoastal Canal and had been shut after the accident, was reopened.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited

6 dead in boat collision

CNN 
January 15, 1998
INTRACOASTAL CITY, Louisiana (AP) -- The Coast Guard searching the Louisana bayou found a sixth victim who had vanished when a boat of duck hunters collided with a vessel four times its size. Five fellow hunters were also killed.

Seven hunters were aboard the 28-foot aluminum boat that struck the 110-foot oil rig crew boat Gear Tide early Wednesday. An injured hunter was pulled from the water by people on the crew boat.

The dead were pulled from the sunken hunting boat hours after the accident in Freshwater Bayou, 30 miles southwest of New Iberia. The sixth victim was found in the same area on Thursday.

No one aboard the larger boat was injured.

It was raining at the time of the early evening collision. The Coast Guard said visibility was about a mile.

Among those killed was T. Wayne Robertson, 47, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the president of sports marketing enterprises for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. He supervised sports programs, including the NASCAR Winston Cup series and the Vantage golf tournaments, a company spokesman said.

Copyright 1998   The Associated Press

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