- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 10, 2019

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The U.S. Navy is investigating why a barge capsized at a stealth submarine research facility in northern Idaho.

The 48-by-80-foot (15-by-24-meter) barge capsized in early February at the Acoustic Research Detachment base at Lake Pend Oreille, The Spokesman-Review reported Wednesday.

The experimental support platform was used to deploy large scale submarine models and to maintain an underwater sonic measurement system, Navy officials said.

A buildup of ice on the platform might have contributed, but the incident remains under investigation, said Capt. Roxie Thomsen Merritt, a spokeswoman for the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Carderock Division.

“The weather conditions on Lake Pend Oreille were generally severe leading up to the event, with very cold temperatures and large amounts of accumulated snow and ice on the ESP,” Thomsen Merritt said in an email.

Tugboats and other vessels started to haul the barge back to the base when it began to sink “to avoid potential damage to the underwater test facility,” Thomsen Merritt said. A Naval Sea Systems Command team was sent to stabilize the barge and develop a salvage and restoration plan.

“They are still doing all the investigating and assessments, and we won’t know the extent of the damage until they are through with the inspection,” she said.


Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com

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