Runaway Barge Caught

9 years 6 months 3 weeks ago May 11, 2007 May 11, 2007 Friday, May 11 2007 Friday, May 11, 2007 5:12:00 PM CDT in News

The barge broke loose from Glasgow Thursday night, one of two unmanned vessels drifting down the Missouri River. 

Patrol boats had already corralled the larger one, a defunct restaurant, near Arrow Rock early this morning, but the smaller one slipped past and headed downstream towards Jefferson City. The smaller barge was a fuel barge, approximately 30 by 80 ft. 

A tugboat owned by Capital Sand Company brought the barge to its dock and secured it there. Capital Sand Vice President Steve Bohlken waited until morning rather than the night before to retrieve the pilotless craft as a precautionary measure.

"We were nervous about bringing it in at night with 30 foot high water, not being able to see any danger," he said. "It didn't look like it hit much on the way down"  

The danger evident in the morning, however, was that the barge would run into the Highway 54 Bridge before authorities could get it under control.

Police talked about closing the bridge, but by 10:30 a.m., the barge was safely under control, and they never had to shut the bridge down. Water Patrol officers secured the fuel barge about 13 miles north of the bridge and towed it safely through around noon.

The Water Patrol says residents should feel lucky.

"The worst scenario that we are planning for of course is that the hazardous material on board would explode and if that were to happen near the bridge, obviously anyone on the bridge would be in danger." said Lt. Nick Humphrey.

The Water Patrol believes the tank was full.

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