The towing vessel Ron W. Callegan allided with the Vicksburg Railroad Bridge, after which nine barges containing coal broke free, two of which sank.
The Coast Guard has implemented a safety zone on the Lower Mississippi River from mile marker 438 to mile marker 426 to restrict maritime traffic to those vessels needed in the response.
Towing vessels in the area are assisting in securing the barges that broke free. A surveyor and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working to locate the two barges that sank to ensure they will not be a hazard to navigation.
The railroad bridge will remain closed until a safety inspection is completed by the Vicksburg Bridge Commission and the State of Mississippi.
The cause of the incident is under investigation