On September 12, the 30 meter long, 218 gt towboat Jacob Kyle Rusthoven caught fire on the Mississippi River at mile marker 664 near Helena-West Helena, Arkansas. The towboat was pushing 9 barges loaded with rocks when the fire broke out in the vessel’s engine room. The crew was unable to contain the blaze and sent out a distress call. A nearby vessel came to their and evacuated the crew. The Jacob Kyle Rusthoven was then pushed to the Arkansas shoreline where local fire fighters were able to extinguish the blaze 7 hours later. No reports of injuries.
The Coast Guard had stopped nearby traffic on the Mississippi River during the incident. Reports state the Jacob Kyle Rusthoven had some 13,300 gallons of diesel fuel on board at the time, but no pollution was detected. Authorities stated that 3 of the rock barges had broken free during the incident, but were later recovered.
The 155 foot long towboat Jeffrey G with its string of 30 barges allided with the old bridge over the Mississippi River at Viscksburg, Mississippi. The Jeffrey G was heading downriver when it struck the bridge with several barges breaking free. One barge loaded with grain sank while several other barges floated downriver. Other towboats were able to recover the barges that broke free. No reports of injuries. Reports state the barges did not contain any hazardous materials. The Coast Guard has launched an investigation into the incident.
The 22 meter long towboat Natalie Jean capsized and sank on the Mississippi River near New Orleans, Louisiana. The Natalie Jean was pushing a barge when it lost stability while making a turn in the river. The towboat suddenly capsized spilling the crew member in the pilothouse into the river. The nearby towboat Earl Gosling rescued the crew man from the water. A short time later the Natalie Jean rolled over and sank.
Reports state two other crew members of the Natalie Jean were reported as missing. The Coast Guard along with local authorities launched a search and rescue operation for the missing crew.
Traffic on the Mississippi River was halted around the area where the Natalie Jean sank. Reports state the towboat had some 600 gallons of diesel fuel on board when it sank. The Coast Guard has launched an investigation into the incident.