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Police find body of 'best man' missing after Hudson River boat crash

By Francesca Trianni

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The body of the "best man" killed when a speedboat carrying six members of an upcoming wedding party smashed into a barge on the Hudson River on Friday night was found in the river on Sunday, Rockland County Sheriff William Barbera said.

Mark Lennon, 30, who was to be the best man in the August 10 wedding, was killed along with a woman believed to be the bride, said county Sheriff William Barbera.

The sheriff's office said the boat hit a construction barge anchored below the Tappan Zee Bridge, part of the New York State Thruway and a major transportation link across the Hudson River about 25 miles north of Midtown Manhattan.

The body of a woman was pulled from the water on Saturday by crews searching for two people missing after the accident, Barbera said.

Barbera would not confirm local media reports that gave her name as fiance Lindsey Stewart, 30.

Lennon was found at around 11 a.m. local time one mile south of the riverside town of Piermont, which is just south of the bridge.

The driver of the boat, Jojo John, 35, had consumed alcohol and was "intoxicated" at the time of the crash, Barbera said.

John was charged with one count of vehicular manslaughter and three counts of second-degree vehicular assault and remains in custody at a local hospital.

Three others were taken to area hospitals, authorities said.

Barbera said that the night was clear but very dark "because there was less than a full moon."

"But there were lights on the barge," he said.

Despite suffering serious head injuries, Stewart's fiance, Brian Bond, called 911 at 10:41 p.m., saying that the speedboat had struck an object south of the bridge, according to CNN.

The rescue was "delayed because he was unsure of where he was," Barbera said.

According to media reports, the couple had been friends since childhood in the suburbs north of New York City and went to the same church in the town of Pearl River, several miles west of the Hudson.

The New York State Thruway Authority is conducting a review of safety procedures on the Hudson River, Brian Conybeare, special advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo, said in a release.

Tappan Zee Constructors, the company doing the bridge project, said the barges were properly lit on Friday night when the accident occurred.

(Editing by Eric M. Johnson and Philip Barbara)

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