Weather Updates

Barge breakaways cause Mississippi River oil spill

ALTON — The Coast Guard is assessing the environmental impact of roughly 300 gallons of crude oil it says spilled into the Mississippi River during a chain-reaction accident that briefly caused 14 barges to break free near Alton.

The Coast Guard says a vessel hit a fleeting area about 1 a.m. Friday, causing the barges to break away from their moorings. Those barges then hit various facilities and another barge loading crude oil, causing the spill.

The Coast Guard says the accident forced a roughly hour-long closure of a four-mile stretch of the river. All of the runaway barges were corralled and secured.

There were no injuries reported.

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