Power outage not to blame for crash

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 2, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; A rainsquall that reduced visibility to near zero appears to have been the cause of a barge hitting a piling of the Mississippi River bridge Saturday night.

That&8217;s according to Wayne R. Arguin Jr., chief of the Prevention Division of the U.S. Coast Guard for the lower Mississippi River.

While a Coast Guard investigation into the incident is still ongoing, &8220;a rainsquall happened as they were lining themselves up with the bridge, and they lost sight of the bridge,&8221; Arguin said.

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There&8217;s no evidence the barge lost power before the accident, and Arguin said he has not heard any barge personnel say power was lost.

Adams County Civil Defense Director George Souderes earlier said he had heard from Coast Guard personnel on the scene after the accident that power had been lost on the barge before the crash.

The accident happened at about 8 p.m. Saturday and involved a barge from Pine Bluff Sand and Gravel of Pine Bluff, Ark.

Although Mississippi Department of Transportation crews must further check the bridge piling for damage once the river goes down, MDOT crews inspected the piling above the water level Sunday and found no damage.