One injured in boating allision with Umstead Bridge, temporary guardrail installed to help protect damaged concrete

Published 3:57 pm Friday, June 16, 2023

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The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has reported a boating incident in the Croatan Sound that resulted in an injury. 

According to Sgt. Anna Barbosa with the NC WRC Law Enforcement Division, on Thursday, June 15, 2023, just before 10 p.m., a 62′ cabin cruiser lost power, causing it to impact the William B. Umstead Bridge, also known as the Old Manns Harbor Bridge, connecting the north end of Roanoke Island to the Dare County mainland.  One person was injured in the incident. 

“The vessel was traveling north through the Croatan Sound when it experienced engine trouble,” stated Barbosa. “The momentum and current pushed the vessel into the bridge collapsing the flying bridge onto the two occupants on board.”  

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The boat’s captain, Robert Scherrer, 46, of Florida, restored power long enough to navigate away from the bridge and drop anchor, which is where the vessel remains as of Friday morning. Scherrer was uninjured.  

Karla Lopez, 42, of Costa Rica, was transported to The Outer Banks Hospital in Nags Head from the vessel by Dare County EMS with the assistance of Roanoke Island Volunteer Fire Department.   

Also responding to the incident were the Dare County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina Marina Patrol, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and North Carolina Department of Transportation. 

The cause of the incident is still under investigation, but may be related to the fuel system, noted Barbosa.    

North Carolina Department of Transportation inspectors were on scene Friday morning to assess the bridge. “There was not any sub structure damage to the bridge, but the bridge rail will need to be repaired,” stated NCDOT communications officer Tim Hass on Friday afternoon. “The rail has been broken and moved about 2 inches. Bridge Staff installed a temporary section of guardrail to protect the concrete rail until a repair can be planned/scheduled.”