BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A portion of the Mississippi River is closed after a towing vessel sank Thursday, Mar. 14.
The Coast Guard says the Michelle Anne, a towing vessel, sank near mile marker 226 at roughly 11 a.m. Four people on board were rescued by the crew of the J. Andrew Eckstein, which is owned by Marquette Transportation. Thankfully, no one was injured.
“We are thankful that the crew of the Michelle Ann is safe and are proud that our mariners on the M/Vs J. Andrew Eckstein and St. Phillip were able to respond quickly, leverage their training, and help ensure the safety of their fellow mariners in this dangerous situation,” said John Eckstein, Marquette’s chairman and CEO.
Crews are at the scene searching for the sunken boat. A Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit is also searching for signs of pollution.
The cause of the crash has not been released. It’s unclear at this point whether unusually high and fast-moving water on the Mississippi River was a factor in the sinking.
The river reached its seventh highest crest on record Monday, Mar. 11 near 44 feet, and remained at just under 44 feet as of Wednesday afternoon.
Data also shows the river was flowing at more than double its normal rate for mid-March in Baton Rouge. Torrential rains farther north in recent weeks have been the main source of unusually high water and forecasters warn the Mississippi River is likely to remain quite high for several more weeks due to additional rain and melting snow up north.
The river closure is from mile marker 224.5 to mile marker 226.