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Crash of River Barge Creating Oil Disaster in the Mississippi

Barge carrying 80,000 gallons of oil slams into bridge; Spill forces closure of sixteen mile stretch of vital waterway

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

A unknown amount of crude oil continues to pour into the Mississippi River after a barge carrying 80,000 gallons of oil crashed into a railroad bridge in Vicksburg, Miss., early Sunday morning.

"It's still considered an active leak," said Lt. Ryan Gomez of the Coast Guard's office in Memphis, Tenn. "We don't have an estimate or accurate amount of what was released," he said, though an oily sheen was reportedly spotted three miles downriver of Vicksburg.

According to reports, "a towing vessel was pushing two barges side-by-side and they struck one of the Vicksburg railroad bridge piers." 

Cleanup crews are currently on the scene trying to contain the ongoing spill, the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports. The Coast Guard, the Ledger adds, has closed the waterway for eight miles in each direction.

Though the second barge was damaged, there is reportedly no indication that any oil is leaking from the second vessel. The two barges are owned by Third Coast Towing LLC, based in Corpus Christi, Texas.

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