Two barge collisions with bridges reported along flooding Mississippi
VICKSBURG, Miss. - Two barges carrying coal down the Mississippi River sank Tuesday after colliding with a railroad bridge near Vicksburg, the second such collision in less than 24 hours according to the Coast Guard.
WAPT-TV reported 22 barges containing coal were headed south down the Mississippi when they collided with the U. S. 80 railroad bridge Tuesday around 8:40 a.m. The collision caused several barges to break loose, two of which sank in the river.
The railroad bridge was closed. Officials are checking video from the incident to see if any barges hit the Interstate 20 bridge in that area.
Another collision had been reported late Monday night further upriver near Helena, Ark. The Coast Guard said a towboat was pushing barges around 10 p.m. when one of them struck the pier of the Helena Highway Bridge between Arkansas and Mississippi.
The Coast Guard said four barges broke away and were secured around 3:40 a.m. Two barges hauling 2.4 million gallons of denatured alcohol were damaged and taking on water Tuesday according to the Coast Guard, who said the barges will need to be emptied.
A Coast Guard spokesperson said no pollution or injuries happened as a result of the collision, and they're reviewing the incident to see how it happened.
The National Weather Service said the river is above flood stage at both locations, but has crested at Helena. Levels at Vicksburg are still rising and expected to crest above 50 feet around Jan. 15.