Boat Accident in Mississippi Sound Claims the Life of Biloxi Man

Last month, a Biloxi man was killed when his 23-foot fishing boat struck a submerged object in the Mississippi Sound near Deer Island. The force of the impact reportedly ripped the outboard motor off of the stern of the boat. The motor then flipped into the boat and struck 54-year-old Mark Barhanovich on the back. Although a friend helped get Barhanovich to shore, the man died during the ninety minute trip to Ocean Springs Hospital.

Initially, Mississippi investigators stated the accident was caused by a submerged dredge pipe attached to a barge. According to reports, the pipe was installed in June 2012 to replenish sand at Deer Island. Later, however, United States Coast Guard Commander Scott Muller said the pipe was being evaluated as one of several possible causes of the fatal incident. The dredge pipe is approximately three-fourths of a mile long and runs across an allegedly popular path that is used by many recreational boaters. The pipe reportedly changes depth in the water based on the amount of sand being funneled through it at any given time. Prior to the accident, pilings were reportedly installed to mark the location of the dredge pipe.

Both the Coast Guard and the Marine Patrol Division of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources have purportedly received complaints regarding boat accidents involving the dredge pipe. Recreational boaters have allegedly damaged both motors and boat transoms on the pipe. Although Muller refused to comment on the past visibility of the pipe, he stated it is now marked by lighted pilings and additional buoys in accordance with federal navigation laws.

In 2011, 35 people throughout the nation died and 192 were injured after being struck by a recreational boat motor or propeller. According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, 19 boats in nine states collided with a submerged dredge pipe during the last five years. The collisions resulted in nine injuries and killed two children. The exact cause of Barhanovich's death is currently under investigation by the Coast Guard.

No matter where you are sailing, recreational boaters can fall victim to unexpected accidents in an instant. Unfortunately, collisions at sea often result in catastrophic personal injuries or death. The victim of an injury that was sustained on a ship or boat may be entitled to receive compensation for their medical expenses, pain, suffering, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, and punitive damages. Those who lost a close relative in a boating accident may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you were hurt or a loved one was tragically killed in a boating accident, you should discuss your case with an experienced maritime law attorney.

Contact Seattle Maritime Attorneys John Merriam and Gordon Webb if you were injured in a recreational boating accident. Mr. Merriam and Mr. Webb have nearly 50 years of combined experience helping those who were harmed while traveling by sea receive the financial compensation that their injuries merit. Mr. Merriam and Mr. Webb handle maritime injury cases that originated throughout the world including the Gulf of Mexico, the Bering Sea, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Alaska. To speak with a competent maritime law attorney today, please do not hesitate to call lawyers John Merriam and Gordon Webb toll free at (877) 800-1007 or contact us through the law firm's website.

Additional Resources:

Officials: Barhanovich was killed after boat struck 'unidentified object', by Karen Nelson and Robin Fitzgerald, Sun Herald

Mark Barhanovich, Biloxi's son, dies in boating accident Sunday, by Karen Nelson, Sun Herald

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