Once-floating California Boat Club sinks in Mon River

U.S. Coast Guard: Sunken barge is not impacting navigation

May 18, 2017
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Scott Beveridge/Observer-Reporter
California Boat Club is seen resting on the bottom of the Monongahela River in Coal Center. Order a Print
Image description
Scott Beveridge/Observer-Reporter
Nancy Victoria, an owner of California Boat Club, believes a log or other large object hit the barge, causing it to sink Wednesday in the Monongahela River. Order a Print

COAL CENTER – The once-floating California Boat Club rested Thursday on the bottom of the Monongahela River, a day after the barge developed a hole and sank.

The owners of the vessel, Lawrence and Nancy Victoria, spent Thursday morning working with a crew to retrieve the stove, dishes, tables and other items from the former restaurant that was moored in the river in the early 1960s in the borough of Coal Center.

“Something may have hit it,” Nancy Victoria said. “We’re seeing what can be saved.”

The U.S. Coast Guard in Pittsburgh is willing to assist if salvaging the barge gets in the way of navigation, Lt. Shawn Simeral said.

“That’s the major concern,” Simeral said.

He said the barge did not release any hazardous materials into the water when it sank and that it is not interfering with navigation.

“We’re just standing by,” Simeral said. “It’s a matter of who’s going to take the lead.”

He said he believed there were going to be efforts made to salvage the barge that has a building constructed on it. He was uncertain whether it would be repaired or sold for scrap.

Nancy Victoria said she left the club Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. and received a call at 2 p.m. to return because the barge sank.

She said the barge had developed a leak, and that a bilge pump was being used to keep it afloat. The pump was still running when she returned to the area Wednesday afternoon.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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