Two coal barges sink after breakaway on Monongahela River


(ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa.) — About 15 barges loaded with coal broke loose Thursday afternoon on the Monongahela River, with at least two of the barges sinking, The Trib Live reported.

Officials first spotted the runaway barges around 4 p.m. near the Rankin Bridge in Rankin, Pa. By 6 p.m. at least two barges had sunk, three struck the Rankin Bridge and four were moving downriver toward the Homestead Grays Bridge, officials said. Both bridges were shut down during the height of rush-hour traffic.

Towboats and other watercraft responded to calls from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Coast Guard to assist in the recovery of the barges. The owner, Gulf Materials of Braddock, Pa., also assisted with towboats above the Homestead Grays Bridge.

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By Professional Mariner Staff