Ohio River Company Towboat M / V Queen City Receives Nation's Highest Safety Award

On June 30, at the Banker's Club in Cincinnati, Ohio, the captain and 12 crew members of The Ohio River Company towboat M/V Queen City were awarded the nation's highest safety award for their heroism in rescuing four capsized fishermen from the swirling currents of the Ohio River. The awards were presented by the National Safety Council, Marine Section, and the American Institute of Merchant Shipping. The award marks the first time in its history that AIMS has offered its top annual award to an inland vessel.

On the late afternoon of October 11, 1976, the M/V Queen City was pushing 12 barges of coal up the Ohio River at a point near Dashield's Locks, 13 miles from Pittsburgh, Pa. At 5:40 p.m., pilot Billy Nolan spotted a capsized 18-foot motorboat. Nearby, four people were floundering helplessly in the treacherous river currents, being swept toward the oncoming barges.

Pilot Nolan immediately radioed the locks to request a rescue boat to pick up the victims. The dispatcher at the locks radioed back that there was no boat available, and urged that the crew of the M/V Queen City attempt to rescue themselves.

Armed with life preservers, the crew of the tow moved along the 12 loaded barges, which were now bearing down on the four victims in the water. Reaching the bow of the point barge, the crew was able to reach the men in the water with the preservers and pull them safely aboard.

In addition, Capt. Charles Wolf instructed his crew to right the capsized boat, pump the water out, and tie it up at the locks while the survivors were taken into a waiting ambulance. The rescue operation was complete, with none of the party suffering any ill effects, with the exception of one man who was in a state of shock.

Surviving the ordeal were the boat's owner Louis M. Krofchick of Ambridge, Pa., his father Louis Krofchick Sr., and two guests of the Krofchicks, Harry Dunn and Robert Dunn.

The National Safety Council, represented by general chairman David Walker, presented the award pennant to The Ohio River Company president Jack Geary, and vice president, operations David Martenson. James Reynolds, president of the American Institute of Merchant Shipping, presented The Ohio River Company with a permanent plaque for the M/V Queen City, plus certificates of commendation to Captain Wolf and each of the crew members.

Other stories from August 15, 1977 issue


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