An accidental death of a crewman on a tugboat early Friday is being investigated by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

The man, 47, was working on the Western Tugger off Burgeo, which was towing a barge approximately 70 kilometres offshore.

A spokesperson for the TSB said the barge capsized, causing the towline to snap and hit the victim.

He was airlifted by a Cormorant helicopter to hospital in Stephenville, but succumbed to his injuries.

The barge was loaded with steel bars at the time.

The tugboat is owned by Miller Shipping of St. John's. Late Friday, the company issued a statement expressing deep regret over the tragedy.

It said the barge and tugboat were en route to a nearby port for inspection.