Crew members of the tugboat Davy McAllister have confirmed they refused to help a crippled cabin cruiser but deny they smashed it with a barge and sank it, leaving one person dead and four missing, the Coast Guard said.
However, the Coast Guard reported blue paint, "like the kind found on the cabin cruiser Karen E," was found on the barge and "possibly" on a towing line between the tug and barge.
Coast Guard Lt. John O'Brien said an analysis could establish whether the paint matches that of the cabin cruiser, whether the barge ran over the cruiser and how long the paint has been on the barge.
Richard Lublin, owner of the Karen E, was rescued by residents about a mile off Orient, Long Island, early Monday after he swam and floated 10 miles without a life preserver in Long Island Sound for 71/2 hours.
Lublin told police that he hailed a tug for help after the Karen E lost power at about 10 p.m. Sunday in the sound. He said he pulled next to the tug and a crew member told him to "get lost." Then the barge it was towing smashed into the cabin cruiser, breaking it in half, he said.