Watch CBS News

After 26 barges break loose on Ohio River in Pittsburgh, crews search for one believed to have sunk

Missing Pittsburgh barge confirmed to be underwater
Missing Pittsburgh barge confirmed to be underwater 02:00

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Five of the runaway barges were removed from the Emsworth Locks and Dam Tuesday morning, leaving three still stuck after they broke loose in Pittsburgh and floated down the Ohio River. 

Five of the 26 barges that broke free over the weekend have been removed from the Ohio River. In a joint effort between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard and Campbell Transportation, the vessels were recovered safely.

"Salvage operations can be done in a lot of ways," said Eric Velez with the Coast Guard on Monday. "Like one of the things they do, they have a sonar, kind of look at specific areas, to see if they can identify the barge or the vessel underwater." 

There are also clues in the water, like looking closely at how the water breaks.

"At this point, I believe they are just using sonar to locate this barge," Velez said.

(Photo: KDKA)

Campbell Transportation Company senior vice president of river operations Gary Statler said sonar was used to locate what they think is the barge, but they have not been able to confirm with divers or a camera due to the murkiness of the water.

"We appreciate everyone's help with the situation that we have that's ongoing," Statler said.

"To ensure the waterways is safe, we have put that safety zone to protect the vessels," Velez said.

The river closure is between the Emsworth Dam and the Dashields Dam. He says they can't reopen the waterway until they confirm where the sunken barge is.

"We just want to make sure that we know where it is, we mark it, and ensure it's not in the navigational channel," said Velez. 

The Coast Guard says the shipping company is both responsible for paying to remove these barges as well as paying for any damage they may have caused.

Search underway for runaway barge believed to have sunk on Ohio River 01:55
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.