Crews to begin removing sunken tow boat from the Mississippi Riv - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Crews to begin removing sunken tow boat from the Mississippi River Wednesday

Updated:

NEW ORLEANS - The tow boat Kristin Alexis capsized a little before 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, tossing five crew members into the swirling Mississippi. Fortunately, they were quickly rescued, but the wreckage remains.

According to Port of New Orleans officials, a salvage operation is expected to begin Wednesday morning.

"As of right now, there's only a small portion of the super structure above water, and it's in about 60 feet of water in the location where it's now submerged, approximately 150 feet off the Louisiana Avenue Wharf," said Paul Zimmerman, Director of Operations at the port.

Initial reports suggested wake from a passing ship may have flipped the vessel onto its side, but officials said an investigation is under way to determine the exact cause.

Shortly after the accident, another tow boat rescued four of the crew members, while people on a boat docked at the Louisiana Avenue Wharf pulled the fifth from the water.

"Certainly could've been worse," Zimmerman said. "It's an unfortunate situation whenever something like this happens, but the good news, of course, is five crew members were rescued rather quickly, and they're all safe."

Officials said the incident left a minimal environmental impact, but Coast Guard crews deployed boom to contain about a one-mile-long sheen of diesel that spilled from the wreckage.

Tuesday afternoon, divers worked to make sure no more diesel leaked from the sunken vessel.

Officials with Marquette Transportation Company, the tow boat's owner, declined to comment on the incident.

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