The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(ST. LOUIS) — Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River is responding to a report of 13 drifting and two sunken barges as a result of a bridge allision with the Poplar St. Bridge on the Mississippi River, Saturday. The towing vessel Cindy Celeste was towing 15 barges loaded with coal when it allided with the McArthur Railroad bridge at mile marker 177.5 near downtown St. Louis at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Thirteen adrift barges have been safely controlled and two barges remain wedged against the McArthur bridge. Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River has closed the river to all commercial and recreational traffic from mile market 179.2 to mile marker 178 pending further investigation.
Coast Guard investigating officers, a pollution investigation team and a Coast Guard small boat continue to monitor the situation and assist with recovery of the barges. An Incident Command Post has been set up at Sector Upper Mississippi River.