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Incident In Scotland May Spur Lawsuit By Houstonian

You've probably never heard of a towboat called The Flying Phantom, but it's big news in Scotland and it involves the death of a Houston man.

The Phantom sunk in the River Clyde in December 2007, going under in a fog in less than 40 seconds and killing all but one member of its five-person crew.

Among them was Houstonian Robert Cameron, and now his widow is speaking out in the wake of the official inquiry into the incident.

Says The Times Of London:

Helen Humphreys and Linda Cameron said that they had been “shocked and dismayed” at the findings of the report and called for a public inquiry to ensure that such an incident could not happen again.

The two widows are also considering taking legal action against port managers Clydeport Ltd. This could include a civil claim and they may also urge the Crown Office to consider corporate manslaughter charges.

The government report concluded that "commercial pressures" played a role in the sinking -- the ship had been idling for days because of bad weather; it was finally ordered to proceed up the river even though conditions were less than optimal: "For the pilot, who is not named in the report, this was a compromise: he could negotiate the first sharp bend in the river in daylight, and finish the journey in darkness,." the paper reported.

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Cameron's widow, Linda, said this yesterday, according to the BBC:

Speaking at a news conference in Glasgow, Mrs Cameron said she was in a state of "disbelief" after learning that the Flying Phantom had ran aground in fog in 2000.

"Recommendations made at that time haven't been enforced," she said.

"Some action has been taken, but not enough to ensure that similar accidents don't happen again and other families don't have to suffer the devastation which we've suffered."

-- Richard Connelly

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