- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) - The Latest on flooding along the Mississippi River (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

An emergency official says four barges have sunk in the Mississippi River after they struck a bridge across the river in Vicksburg.

It had been previously reported that two barges may have sunk.

Warren County Emergency Management Director John Elfer says the barges were carrying coal. He says no one was injured. Also, he reports no hazardous materials spilled into the river.



He says a towboat pushing 22 barges struck the old U.S. 80 Bridge Tuesday morning. It had previously been reported the tow included 30 barges.

Elfer says it’s unlikely the sunken barges will be recovered from the river while the Mississippi is so high and fast moving. He says bridge strikes such as this one are not unusual when the river is so high.

He says the bridge was not damaged. The bridge has not been used by vehicles for years. He says it has reopened to trains.

___

11:15 a.m.

Media are reporting that at least two barges may have sunk in the Mississippi River after a towboat pushing 30 barges struck the old U.S. 80 Bridge.

Warren County Emergency Management director John Elfer tells The Vicksburg Post (https://bit.ly/1RJBgqT ) the barges were carrying dry goods, possibly grain and coal. He says the barges struck the bridge at about 8:40 a.m. Tuesday.

Elfer says an American Commercial Barge Lines boat was pushing the barges south they hit a bridge support and broke loose. The newspaper reports no one was injured.

Bridge superintendent Herman Smith says the company is working to gather the barges.

The Coast Guard was not able to immediately comment on the accident.

Monday night, another set of barges struck the Helena Highway Bridge farther north on the river. The Coast Guard says two barges were damaged in that incident.

___

10:30 a.m.

HELENA, Ark. (AP) - The Coast Guard says a section of the fast-flowing and swollen Mississippi River was briefly closed after a towboat pushing barges struck a pier of a bridge between Mississippi and Arkansas, causing four barges to break loose.

The Coast Guard says a pier of the Helena Highway Bridge was struck at about 10 p.m. Monday. The Coast Guard says four barges broke away and were secured by about 3:40 a.m.

Officials say two barges containing about 2.4 million gallons of denatured alcohol were damaged and were taking on water Tuesday. The Coast Guard says the barges will be emptied.

Seth Johnson, a Coast Guard spokesman, says the accident has not caused any pollution and there were no reports of injuries. He could not say what caused the accident.

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