UPDATE: River reopens to some boat traffic after barge strike at Natchez, Vidalia bridges

Published 11:44 am Wednesday, April 26, 2023

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NATCHEZ — After one or more barges struck the Mississippi River bridges late Sunday, leaving one barge partially submerged south of Natchez, the river closed to all boat traffic and has since reopened with some limitations.

Lt. Andrew Lauf, a spokesman with the U.S. Coast Guard, said salvage teams are still on the scene Wednesday morning, working to clear the wreckage.

However, he said boat traffic has since resumed with some restrictions while the work is ongoing.

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David Carter, the owner of Double C Ranch and host of Great River Outdoors tours, said he took a group of about 20 people from American Cruise Lines left stranded by the wreck to enjoy the outdoors on Tuesday.

Lauf said there were multiple breakaway barges late Sunday during the collision with the bridges. No one was injured, he confirmed.

“There is still an open investigation,” Lauf said without releasing further details of what caused the incident.

Louisiana Department of Transportation and the Mississippi Department of Transportation were notified. DOT officials confirmed bridge inspectors deemed the bridges safe for travel on Monday morning.

This story will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.