Autopsy: 2 dead fishermen had used marijuana

May 5, 2009 6:24:12 AM PDT
Autopsy results show the captain and one crew member aboard a scallop boat that sank off the New Jersey coast had used marijuana.

Investigators are also expected to hear Tuesday from the sole survivor of a scallop boat that sank, claiming 6 lives off southern New Jersey.

But a doctor says how recently they had done so and whether it might have impaired their judgment and performance aboard the Lady Mary could not be determined.

Capt. Royal Smith Jr. and Timothy Smith were among six crew members who died when the boat sank off Cape May on March 24.

A lawyer for the Smiths' father says the captain's blood level was low enough to have been caused by second-hand smoke from Tim Smith's use. But attorney Steve Weeks says drugs have no place on a fishing boat.

Testimony came Tuesday from Dr. Anthony Costantino during a Coast Guard inquiry into the accident.

Jose Luis Arias has shed little light on what happened in the final moments aboard the Lady Mary 60 miles off Cape May.

The 57-year-old, who lived in Wildwood and Raleigh, N.C., has said he was awakened on March 24 by shouts that the boat was sinking. He has said he put on a cold water survival suit and jumped into the ocean.

He was rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter.

Yesterday, a lawyer who represents the boat's owner speculated the boat's dredging gear might have gotten tangled with another boat or something on the sea floor.

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