A towboat pushing 15 loaded coal barges made contact with a bridge on the Ohio River in Louisville, Ky., Christmas night, triggering a breakaway that left nine barges stranded on a dam, Coast Guard officials said.
The 128’x28.5’ towboat Debbie Graham was passing the Clark Memorial Bridge in the city when the allision was reported to watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley around 8:10 p.m. On Thursday afternoon the response effort was continuing between the Coast Guard, the Corps of Engineers Louisville district and towboat operator Tennessee Valley Towing Co., Paducah, Ky.
Six barges were recovered, with nine still stuck at the dam and three of those capsized, according to the Coast Guard. The Ohio River was reopened to all vessel traffic from Twelve Mile Island to the McAlpine Lock and Dam.
Vessel movements were only permitted during daylight hours and with an assist vessel, which was stationed at McAlpine. The cause of the accident remains under investigation, according to the Coast Guard.