Section of Mississippi closed after barges break free

April 21, 2013 at 5:55 PM

ST. LOUIS, April 21 (UPI) -- A section of the Mississippi River was closed early Sunday by the Coast Guard in Port St. Louis after more than 100 barges became loose.

At about 2 a.m. Sunday, the Coast Guard announced that the river would be closed between mile marker 170 and 155 as a precaution to ensure safety in the area as barge fleets worked to secure the barges, KMOV-TV, St. Louis, reported.

"Working to ensure the safety of life is paramount," said Cmdr. Scott Stoermer, deputy sector commander for Sector Upper Mississippi River. "High water conditions, like those St. Louis is experiencing now, can pose a significant and very dynamic risk.

A total of 114 barges broke free of their moorings around 10:30 p.m. Saturday; nine of which have sunk and 11 of which were not accounted for as of Sunday morning, officials said.

It was not reported whether the river had reopened.

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