Tug pilot faces prison for fatal Pa. boat crash

October 31, 2011 - 4:40 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A distracted tug boat pilot who sank a tour boat in Philadelphia will be sentenced Tuesday in the deaths of two Hungarian students.

Prosecutors accept that pilot Matthew Devlin had a true family emergency, but say he should have had someone else take the wheel.

Instead, Devlin spent most of the hour before the July 7, 2010 crash on his cellphone or laptop.

He rammed a huge barge into a stalled duck boat, sending 35 people into the Delaware River.

The 35-year-old Catskill, N.Y., man faces about three to four years in prison under federal guidelines. He has pleaded guilty to misconduct of a ship operator causing death.

His lawyer will argue for a reduced sentence. He says the crash has devastated Devlin and his family.