Ohio River Disaster As Barge Hauling 1,400 Tons Of Methanol Smashes Into Dam
Three large barges, one carrying 1,400 tons of methanol, were wedged against a dam and partially submerged, on the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky, following their detachment from a tugboat.
The Louisville Metropolitan Emergency Services said the navigation accident occurred early Tuesday morning when three barges -- part of a group of ten -- broke free from a tugboat after hitting a structure at the entrance to the Portland Canal near the river's McAlpine Locks and Dam.
Videos from Tuesday evening show the three barges pinned against the bridge
🚨#BREAKING: Multiple Emergency Response Teams has been Deployed to Address Submerged Barge Carrying 1,400 Tons of Toxic Methanol in the Ohio River— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) March 29, 2023
📌#Louisville | #Kentucky
⁰A major incident has taken place in the Ohio River near Louisville, Kentucky, requiring multiple… pic.twitter.com/swXQD8c5Zk
Louisville | Barge containing 1,400 tons of methanol, loose on the Ohio River— Ｎｅｒｄｙ 🅰🅳🅳🅸🅲🆃 (@Nerdy_Addict) March 29, 2023
The barge carrying 1,400 tons of methanol is partially submerged at McAlpine Dam.
Emergency Response Team (ERT) at a barge incident on the Ohio River in Lville. 10 of 11 barges are loose from the tug. One carrying 1400 tons of methanol partially submerged at McAlpine Dam. Nearest water intake is in Henderson. @USCG @kyfishwildlife @ORSANCOchannel pic.twitter.com/qyWJZkTYGg— Kentucky EEC (@KentuckyEEC) March 28, 2023
Coast Guard spokesperson Chris Davis told NBC News that state and federal agencies are trying to remove barges. Downriver traffic has been halted.
"We had shut down traffic.
"There's going to be salvage operations, and it's going to be dangerous," Davis said.
As of now, Louisville Water Co. has reported the incident has not triggered an environmental disaster, and the city's drinking water remains unaffected.
"Your water is safe to drink," the water agency said in a Facebook post.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that methanol is highly toxic to both humans and wildlife. This chemical, classified under the category of "toxic alcohols," is commonly found in antifreeze, carburetor cleaner, and windshield washer fluids.
... and this incident comes on the heels of the toxic water release from the train derailment in East Palestine, which flowed down the Ohio River, prompting water agencies to take preventive measures to safeguard drinking water for millions of people.