Body found in N.Y. river where bride-to-be vanished

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PIERMONT, N.Y. (AP) — Authorities pulled a woman's body from the Hudson River on Saturday near the spot where a bride-to-be was hurled into the water, along with her fiance's best man, when a speedboat carrying six friends crashed into a construction barge near the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Officials were working to confirm that it was the body of 30-year-old Lindsey Stewart, who has been missing since the Friday night accident, but they said it appeared to fit her description. She had been set to get married in just two weeks.

The search for the missing best man, 30-year-old Mark Lennon, was continuing, said Rockland County undersheriff Robert VanCura.

The crash happened shortly after the boat, a 21-foot Stingray, left the village of Piermont for a short trip across the river to Tarrytown, about a half-hour's drive north of New York City, authorities said.

The groom-to-be, art teacher Brian Bond, was among the four injured. He and Lindsey Stewart were two weeks away from their planned Aug. 10 wedding.

Stewart's mother, Carol, said earlier Saturday that she was praying for a miracle.

Four people were hospitalized after being pulled from the damaged boat. Bond, 35, was knocked unconscious in the crash but later woke and was able to call 911, Carol Stewart said.

Lindsey Stewart's stepfather, Walter Kosik, said the couple have known each other since they were young children and used to go to church together.

"They have been friends the whole time, and they fell in love about 3 1/2 years ago," Kosik said.

They were to be married at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Pearl River, with a reception at a vineyard in Hillburn, he said.

Rockland County Sheriff's Department Chief William Barbera declined to identify the other people aboard the boat. He said the barge, one of several loaded with construction material for an upcoming replacement of the bridge, was equipped with lights, but it was still difficult to see on the water so late at night.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

The New York State Thruway Authority, which is overseeing the bridge project, said it was reviewing safety procedures.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this difficult time," the authority said in a statement. It added that the lighting on the barges appeared to be functioning normally.

Pile driving that had been scheduled to take place Saturday was suspended because of the accident.

Stewart's former English teacher at Pearl River High School, who remained in contact with her through Facebook, called the accident "heartbreaking."

"She was one of my students and a bright, sweet girl loved by everyone," she said. "I knew that she was getting married, and to Brian. To happen to two such special kids -- it just shouldn't happen."