Equipment arrives to retrieve sunken barges

Special equipment arrives to help recover sunken coal barges from Ohio River

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - Two cranes, one barge and a tow boat arrived Wednesday in preparation for the recovery of nine marooned coal barges stuck on the McAlpine Dam.

Seven of the barges sank, the most recent went under between Monday and Wednesday. Only two remain upright with their cargo intact.

“Tennessee Valley Towing Company and the salvage team are developing the salvage plan,” a press release from the United States Coast Guard (USCG) stated, “and are working closely with the Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers to raise the barges as safely and as soon as possible.”

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The problem began on Christmas, when 15 loaded coal barges made contact with the Clark Memorial Bridge and broke away from the boat towing them. Nine of them came to rest at the dam.

An estimated 10,000 tons of coal was spilled into the Ohio River.

“Conditions change on a daily basis and we’re forced to reassess on a daily basis,” USCG Lt. Michael Metz said. “This is going to take time to complete this operation safely. It’s a dynamic environment and we need to use caution.”

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