St. Charles Parish EOC aids search for missing crew members

Three people are reported missing after a barge collision occurred on the Mississippi River earlier this morning (Jan. 26) near Luling.

The St. Charles Parish Emergency Operations Center (EOC)  is working with the U.S. Coast Guard and other officials on the collision at mile marker 123 on the Mississippi River.

Two towing vessels collided at 5:30 a.m., according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard got a report that towing vessel Cooperative Spirit had collided and four members of the RC Creppel are missing.

The Cooperative Spirit was reportedly transiting up bound on the river when it entered a barge fleeting area and allied with barges before colliding with the towing vessel RC Creppel. The collision caused the RC Creppel to sink and barges to break away, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard launched a 29-foot Response Boat-Small boat crew from Coast Guard Sector New Orleans and an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter air crew from Air Station New Orleans. One of the people in the water was recovered by a Good Samaritan. The search for the other three is ongoing.

The RC Creppel was pushing two barges carrying sulfuric acid. One of them was damaged in the incident and reportedly released an unknown amount of vapor into the air. The source of the release is secured, according to the Coast Guard.

A safety zone from mile marker 121 to 123 has been issued and traffic is closed to vessels in that area.

“This is a complex response that has a search-and-rescue component, as well as a pollution component that will require planning and coordination to execute,” said Capt. Kristi Luttrell, Commanding Officer of Sector New Orleans. “We are working alongside our partners at the state and local levels to quickly assess the situation so that we can safely make every effort to find the missing mariners and minimize any further impact to the environment.”

Center of Toxicology and Environmental Health has been contracted for air monitoring.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Involved in the response are:

  • Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans
  • Coast Guard Station New Orleans
  • Port of South Louisiana
  • St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office
  • St. Charles Parish Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Center

Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.


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