Barge tow hits Mississippi River bridge

A 21-mile stretch of the Mississippi River remained closed Monday after a barge tow hit the Vicksburg Railroad Bridge over the weekend and 30 barges carrying coal and grain broke free.

Thirteen upbound and eight downbound tows were stopped between MM436 and MM 415.

All of the barges involved in the Sunday morning accident were accounted for, said Coast Guard spokesman Ryan Tippets. One sank parallel to the navigation channel just south of the I-20 bridge piling, two were partially submerged on the bank, and one was aground on a dike.

The waterway will not open until the sunken barge is salvaged, he said, “because it poses a risk of breaking lose and traveling down the river.”

The barges were being pushed by the towboat Capt. Buck Lay, owned by AEP River Operations, Chesterfield, Mo., which could not be reached for immediate comment.

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