Gateway Clipper boat struck Veterans Bridge


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 The Veterans Bridge was not damaged tonight after a Gateway Clipper paddlewheel-style riverboat struck it near the North Shore pier, Pittsburgh public safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler said.

The Fish and Boat Commission assessed the bridge that spans the Allegheny River, and it "appears to be fine," Ms. Toler said. The bridge was not closed following the 7:39 p.m. impact, an Allegheny County emergency dispatch supervisor said.

River Rescue boarded the boat to assess one person who was injured, Ms. Toler said. The patient was not transported to the hospital for their injuries, the emergency dispatch supervisor said.

The 120-foot-long boat with a 400-person capacity, known as The Gateway Princess, has since docked at Station Square. President of the fleet, Terry Wirginis, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lisa DeRosimo, 47, of Miami, Florida was aboard the Princess tonight with a group for her stepfathers' birthday dinner, she said.

Before impact, she said an announcement over the loud speaker asked passengers to go inside of the boat, take their seats and brace for impact. Her family was on a deck of the boat, and without much warning, barely made it inside, she said.

"We all got quiet. A few minutes later we hit [the bridge]," Ms. DeRosimo said. "You could feel it, like you got bumped by a car." She said she could hear glasses shattering.

The boat then seemed to be out of control for a few minutes, she said, until another boat came to tow it. There were no further announcements, except to tell passengers the boat has lost power, she said. Lights remained on inside of the boat.

She said her party was not injured, though she said she felt tense and expects to be sore Saturday, as if she had been in a fender-bender.

Ms. DeRosimo said: "We were a little surprised. We said, 'No more birthday parties like this, ever."

Lexi Belculfine: lbelculfine@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1878. Twitter: @LexiBelc.


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