- The Washington Times - Monday, March 1, 2004

PILOTTOWN, La. (AP) — Salvage crews have recovered the body of a fourth crew member killed when an offshore supply vessel collided with a container ship in the Mississippi River’s only deep opening into the Gulf of Mexico.

The body of Daniel Lopez, 31, of Port Arthur, Texas, was recovered Saturday at a river pilot station about eight miles south of the Feb. 21 crash, said Petty Officer Chad Saylor, a Coast Guard spokesman.

The Lee III had five crew members aboard when it crashed about 80 miles southeast of New Orleans in the Southwest Pass, the river’s only shipping channel deep enough for many container and cruise ships.

The search for the body of the fifth man continued yesterday.

The collision closed the river to large ships until Wednesday. A backlog of 155 ships delayed by the accident was cleared by Friday night, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard closed the Southwest Pass again yesterday as a crane lifted the sunken Lee III onto a barge. Officials searched the raised vessel for the remaining crewman, Ramon Norwood, 27, of Galveston, Texas.

On Thursday, salvage crews recovered the bodies of Baldemar Villarreal Jr., 54, of Lake Jackson, Texas, and Joseph Harl Brown, 44, of Vidor, Texas. Divers earlier had retrieved the body of Lawrence Glass, 65, of Mobile, Ala.

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