By Eddie Ray, with News Mississippi affiliate WQNZ
NATCHEZ, Miss.–The U.S. Coast Guard is continuing its investigation into barge that struck the Mississippi River Bridge in Natchez late Sunday evening. Spokesman for the Coast Guard Lt. Brain Porter said that the barge was pushing 21 barges 15 of which were loaded with dry cargo.
Porter said the USGS was immediately on scene. Video appeared on social media then reported by KNOE-TV of Monroe, Louisiana showing the barges striking the west bound bridge. After the barges slammed into the bridge Porter stated that the barges were then secured at the Vidalia Dock and Storage pending the investigation.
The barges were being dried out and checked for damaged. Porter stated the normal protocols would be followed during the investigation of the pilot and tug company. He said that their main concern was to be sure that the river channel was safe for navigation.
Jason Scott spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) said they completed their inspection late yesterday afternoon and found only minor scuffs on the piers. Scott stated that the safety of the bridge was their main concern and that the integrity of the bridge was never an issue.