Vessel strike caused barges to break loose

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 | 11:20 a.m. CDT
A stray barge nears towboat workers on the Mississippi River just north of the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge on Sunday morning in Cape Girardeau. Barges from the Sheila Johnson towboat were knocked loose Sunday morning near mile marker 58. The bridge was closed to traffic while towboats retrieved the barges and cleared them from the bridge.

CAPE GIRARDEAU — The U.S. Coast Guard is now saying that barges became loose in the Mississippi River after a tow vessel hit something near Cape Girardeau.

The accident happened around 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Investigators are still trying to figure out what the vessel Sheila Johnson hit near mile marker 60.

The Coast Guard told the Southeast Missourian that three barges carrying coal partially sunk.

The tow was pushing 25 barges when 13 broke loose after impact and began driving down the river. The Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge at Cape Girardeau was closed for a little more than one hour as a precaution, but it was not struck.


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