Related topics

Two Missing, Seven Saved in River Collision

June 30, 1991

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A cabin cruiser carrying nine people collided at night with a barge on the Delaware River, and a man and a 22-month-old toddler who were thrown overboard were missing, the Coast Guard said.

Five people were thrown out of the 22-foot cruiser in the Saturday night collision north of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, and four others trapped in the boat’s cabin were cut free.

The Coast Guard scoured the river Sunday in a search for Thomas Pepper III, 35, and 22-month-old Nicholas Venture, said Coast Guard Lt. Robert Wagner in Portsmouth, Va.

The search was called off at noon after it was determined the bodies were not on the water’s surface, Wagner said. Authorities will wait for the bodies to surface before returning to the area.

The right side of the southbound barge collided with the left side of Pepper’s boat, knocking it over.

Three other people were thrown into the water but swam to safety - Pepper’s wife, Joan, 34; Nicholas’ father, Tony Venture; and Shannon Putt, 6.

Rescuers cut open the damaged hull to free Venture’s wife, Sandy; Pepper’s children, Matt, 7, and Greg, 5; and Matthew DiPietro, 6.

Six were treated for exposure and released from Christiana Hospital in Christiana, Del., said hospital spokeswoman Rachel Miekle. Shannon, the Peppers’ niece, was examined but was uninjured.

The Peppers are from Wallingford and the Ventures are from Folcroft, Wagner said. The hometowns of the other two children were not available, he said.

Authorities were trying to identify the barge involved, Wagner said.

Update hourly