(Adds details about the call for help)
NEW YORK, July 27 The pilot of a speedboat that
was carrying six members of a wedding party when it crashed into
a barge on the Hudson River was charged on Saturday with
vehicular manslaughter in the death of one of the passengers,
reported as the bride-to-be.
Jojo John, 35, was also charged with three counts of
vehicular assault, said Rockland County Sheriff William Barbera.
He was in custody at a local hospital, where he was being
treated for injuries he suffered along with three others injured
in the accident on Friday night.
The body of a woman was pulled from the water on Saturday by
crews searching for two people missing from the crash north of
New York City, Barbera said.
"There were signs of intoxication," Barbera said, and police
are awaiting confirmation from a lab that John was indeed drunk
at the time of the accident.
The medical examiner's office is unlikely to announce the
identity of the dead woman until Monday, Barbera said. According
to local media reports, the body was believed to be that of
Lindsey Stewart, 30, who was due to be married on Aug. 10.
Barbera said a sixth boat passenger, who was reported to be
Mark Lennon, 30, the best man, was still missing. The search for
Lennon will resume on Sunday morning.
Fire officials said earlier in the day they presumed that
neither of the missing passengers had survived.
The sheriff's office said the boat hit a construction barge
anchored below the Tappan Zee Bridge, part of the New York State
Thruway and a major transportation link across the Hudson River
about 25 miles (40 km) north of Midtown Manhattan.
Stewart's fiance, Brian Bond, contacted police and said he
was the only passenger who remained conscious. The rescue was
"delayed because he was unsure of where he was," Barbera said.
No details of the circumstances of the crash were released
by authorities. Fire officials said the barge was illuminated by
an anchor light but would have been difficult to see in the
darkness by approaching boats on the river on Friday night.
Barbera said the vessel was a 19-foot (6-metre) power boat.
(Reporting by Greg McCune and Edith Honan; Editing by Steve
Gorman and Mohammad Zargham)