Barges allided with bridges in two separate incidents Monday night and Tuesday morning along the swollen Mississippi River.
Local news in Mississippi reported that four American Commercial Lines barges carrying coal and grain sank after a towboat pushing 22 barges struck the old Mississippi River bridge at Vicksburg, Miss., at approximately 8:30 Tuesday morning.
The tow breakup at Vicksburg, Miss. Jan. 12. Video by Paul Ingram.
The report said that other barges involved in the incident partially sunk, and several others were coralled with no injuries reported and all crew members accounted for.
In addition to that incident, an allision between a towboat and a bridge Monday night near Helena, Ark., set four barges loose on the Lower Mississippi River.
The 94’5”x35’x10’ towboat Cynthia G. Esper reportedly allided with the pier of the Helena Highway Bridge shortly after 10 p.m. on Monday, after which the four barges of denatured alcohol (totaling 2,472,162 gals.) she was transporting broke away from the towboat.
Local news reported that the bridge was closed to traffic for several hours overnight. The Coast Guard said that the barges were secured at 3:36 a.m., with two of the four reportedly damaged and taking on water.
The Cynthia G. Esper is owned by SCF Barge Line, a Seacor Holdings company. The Coast Guard said that the agency was working with the responsible party to conduct lightering operations of the damaged barges.
The Coast Guard is investigating both incidents.