Swift currents hampering efforts to locate barge worker who fell into river

Published 10:58 am Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Efforts continue to locate a man who fell into the Mississippi River early this morning near the Port of Natchez.

Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said the man was in the area of the Buzzi Unicem USA terminal on L.E Berry Road when he was attempting to climb a ladder onto a walkway and fell into the river.

Natchez Fire Chief Robert Arrington said witnesses to the accident threw the man, who is described as Black and in his 50s, a life preserver ring, but he was unable to grab it. They then tried to save the man using a drag hook but were unsuccessful.

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Adams County Emergency Management Director Robert Bradford said the accident happened at about 4:30 a.m. today.

“Unfortunately, this is now a recovery effort,” Bradford said this morning.

Patten said, in addition to his deputies and Adams County Search and Rescue and the Natchez Fire Department, personnel from the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Mississippi and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries are in the process of trying to locate the man.

“AMR has brought in their incident command center for us to have a unified command,” the sheriff said.

“Wildlife and Fisheries from both sides of the river agreed the current is too strong right now to put divers in the river,” Patten said. “They are here now and have boats and are going to begin dragging this area of the river.”

The sheriff’s office’s drone, which has heat-sensing capabilities, is also deployed to aid in the search.

This story will be updated when more information is available.