Coast Guard continues response to barge breakaway on Mississippi River

No Admittance - Safety  ZoneNEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard continues to respond to an allision resulting in a barge breakaway on the Mississippi River near Thebes, Illinois, Wednesday.

An Incident Command Post has been established at Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Paducah. Lt. Cmdr. Heather Stratton is the Incident Commander.

Initially the river was closed from mile marker 44 to mile marker 30 on the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River is now closed to all traffic from mile marker 44 to mile marker 20, with the exception of authorized vessels involved in the incident.

Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley watchstanders received a call after the tow vessel Michael G. Morris allided with the Thebes Railroad Bridge at approximately 5 a.m., Wednesday.

The allision caused all 30 barges loaded with grain to breakaway. One sank at mile marker 42 of the Mississippi River and another sank next to the Thebes Railroad Bridge.

The Coast Guard is working with the Army Corps of Engineers and the owner of the barges to supervise salvage operations.

The owner of the Thebes Railroad Bridge had the bridge inspected and reopened the bridge to all traffic.

The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.

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