DOT: "Bridge has minimal damage"

The bridge was involved in an incident with a shrimp trawler Saturday night

0218 bridge inspection

BEAUFORT - DOT crews did an official inspection on a drawbridge damaged in an incident involving a shrimp trawler.

The boat hit the drawbridge on Highway 70 that connects Beaufort to Morehead City late Saturday night, the Highway Patrol said. The bridge was initially shut down, but crews reopened one lane early Sunday morning. On Monday, crews were back on scene, checking out damage to the bridge.

The vessel's captain, Matthew Crowley, said he secured the vessel to a pier. Crowley said he and his crew went to get dinner and were gone for only an hour when the boat broke loose.  The Coast Guard said strong winds and currents pulled the boat away. Part of a pier had been ripped out and was later found floating up the canal.  The vessel was removed from the bridge, and crews confirmed there was damage done to the structure.

"I was frantic and i just didn't know what to do. First thing I tried to start the boat up and get it off the bridge but the rips out here are too hard," said Crowley.  "It could've been a lot worse; it could've been a lot more damage. There's a big concrete piling out there."

No one was hurt.

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