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Families of two men who drowned in the Allegheny River settle their lawsuits

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Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, 2:36 p.m.

The families of two men who drowned in the Allegheny River near Harmar in 2010 have settled their lawsuit against the United States, the Army Corps of Engineers and a third man who survived the accident, lawyers for the plaintiffs and the survivor said Tuesday.

Gary Watson, 59, of North Huntingdon and Brian Abercrombie, 26, of California, Pa., drowned after their 16-foot boat overturned April 10, 2010, near Dam No. 3. Cale Watson of North Huntingdon, who was 30 at the time of the accident, was injured and rescued.

Stacey Valenta of North Huntingdon, representing the estate of her father, Gary Watson, and Ashley Abercrombie of California, Pa., wife of the late Brian Abercrombie, claimed the Corps of Engineers had failed to warn boaters of a recirculating current that draws boats toward the dam.

The Corps of Engineers uses buoys to warn boaters to stay out of the area. Officials said at the time of the accident that they had removed the buoys for the winter.

Valenta and Abercrombie sued Cale Watson because he was piloting the boat when it overturned, the lawsuit said.

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