Barge sinks after it strikes a railroad bridge

Tuesday, July 7, 2015
A portion of a sunken barge peeks out from the swollen Mississippi River just south of the Thebes, Illinois, railroad bridge Monday. (Laura Simon)

No one was injured after a barge sank Saturday on the Mississippi River.

At 10:20 a.m., a motor vessel struck a concrete pier of the Thebes railroad bridge in Thebes, Illinois.

Derek Wilson's restaurant, The Riverhouse, sits near the bridge in Scott County. He said he was there Saturday when the towboat struck the bridge.

After the towboat struck the pier, Wilson said he saw the barges it was towing come apart, with some heading down river. One partially sank in the water.

Because it was a railroad bridge, the bridge was shut down and inspected after the collision, said Mark Davis, director of corporations and media relations for Union Pacific Railroad Co.

Six trains were stopped until the inspection was completed at 12:20 p.m., Davis said, and there were no defects to the bridge from the collision. No injuries were reported.

Wilson said this part of the river is difficult to navigate. Normally, the drivers aim for the far left pier of the bridge, and the current carries them through the middle safely. He said he believed the boat's captain may have been unfamiliar with the river or was caught off-guard by the strong current caused by heavy flooding.

smaue@semissourian.com

388-3644

pertinent address:

Thebes, Illinois

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