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Barge hits Mississippi bridge and leaks oil

The Mississippi River was closed to traffic north and south.

Eli Baylis/Vicksburg Post via Associated Press

The Mississippi River was closed to traffic north and south.

VICKSBURG, Miss. — A barge carrying 80,000 gallons of oil hit a railroad bridge in Vicksburg on Sunday, spilling light crude into the Mississippi River and closing the waterway for 8 miles in each direction, the Coast Guard said.

A second barge was damaged.

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Investigators did not know how much had spilled, but an oily sheen was reported as far as 3 miles downriver of Vicksburg after the 1:12 a.m. accident, said Lieutenant Ryan Gomez of the Coast Guard’s office in Memphis.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the second barge also hit the bridge or if it ran into the first barge, he said. The first barge was still leaking late Sunday afternoon, and emergency workers set out booms to absorb and contain the oil, Gomez said.

The river’s closure halted at least five northbound and two southbound vessels, he said.

The bridge was found safe for trains, said Petty Officer Carlos Vega.

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