HOUSTON (FOX 26) - The crazy accident happened in the Intercoastal Waterway between Galveston and Freeport.
It is a man-made canal, and law dictates all boat operators must talk to each other by radio so they can safely pass.
Witnesses say their calls to a tugboat crew went unanswered.
“It was absolutely terrifying, I’ve never been through anything so frightening,” said Deborah Taylor.
Tom and Deborah Taylor say they have been boaters for 30 years and never encountered anything like what happened while they were in the Inter-coastal Waterway about an hour from Freeport.
The Taylors say they were eastbound. They say a tugboat pulling a huge barge several hundred feet long was west bound.
According to the couple, the tugboat appeared to be out of control.
“It started coming over to my side,’ Tom Taylor said. “I started calling on the radio which is required by law I probably called him five to six to seven times and no responses, it seemed like nobody was operating the vessel whatsoever.”
“It was very scary very intense,” said Marilyn Pierce.
Marilyn and Craig Pierce know the Taylors. They were in their boat right behind them.
“I could see directly into the wheelhouse and there was no one there,” Pierce said. “I could see the empty chair I could see the control panels I could see everything and there was no one even there which makes sense on why he wasn’t answering us.”
“And then a little bit later on, somebody came up to the pilot house and said 'oh my God what happened I was sleeping,'" Taylor said.
The barge pushed the Taylors boat onto the ground.
“The barge approached about 12 inches from my face and I could actually touch the barge as it was scraping down the side of our boat,” said Taylor.
“We had to hold on to not fall over,” said Deborah Taylor “It was absolutely terrifying.”
The Coast Guard confirms it is now investigating the crash.
The Bill Baker Tugboat and barge are owned by SRM Concrete.
We called the company’s corporate office in Tennessee. They referred us to the Houston office. So far, we haven’t heard anything back.