Barges hit Mississippi bridges in two separate incidents

Two separate incidents saw barges slam into bridges over the Mississippi River, with some barges sinking.

The US Coast Guard (USCG) said the towboat Cynthia G. Esper was pushing chemical barges when it struck the Highway 49 bridge in Helena, Arkansas, causing a brief closure of a section of the river. It reopened after a few hours.

In a more serious incident, the towboat Ron W. Callegan was pulling 22 barges with a cargo of coal when it ran into the US 80 railroad bridge in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Nine barges broke loose and two of them sank.

In response, towboats worked to gather up the loose barges that did not sink and the USCG restricted traffic on 12 miles of the river to response vessels only.

No crew were reported injured and no pollution is thought to have occurred. The USCG is investigating the cause of the allision.

High water levels have been hindering shipping on the river, which last week saw flooding and enforced closures of some sections because of the effects of severe storms.

The swift current caused by the flood waters is thought to have possibly played a role in the accidents.


Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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