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Crews work to capture rogue barges in Ohio River

More than three dozen barges are loose on the Ohio River in Marshall County.

More than three dozen barges are loose on the Ohio River in Marshall County.

The Moundsville Bridge was shut down for about three hours this morning, but reopened around 10 a.m., according to Moundsville police.

From Pittsburgh to the Ohio Valley, 70 barges meandered down the Ohio River on the loose.

"Our reports are that most (of) them have come from the Belmont Marine or Bellaire Harbor, which is right below the 470 bridge,” said Tim Miller, Commander for the Wheeling Detachment of the Coast Guard Auxillary. “Several broke loose from there, and the last report - about an hour ago - there were five or six passing through Moundsville."

The chaos was caught on camera, all starting around 6 a.m. Saturday.

"Some empty, some filled with coal and there was a report of a possible couple of them north of the Moundsville bridge on water and possibly sinking,” Miller said.

One barge was seen sinking near Dilles Bottom.

The cause? Quick-moving water and large ice chunks.

"And it just gets to point - I mean, you know those things hold 200 tons of coal and such - quite a bit, so if you get a little too much coming up too quickly - with the pressure on the ropes of course, it can cause them to break.,” Miller said.

As of Saturday afternoon, 38 of the barges have been secured, and crews will be working well into weekend.

"It just depends if they have, you know, facilities in the area that can go out there and grab a hold of them. I mean, that's basically what it comes down to, but I imagine it will be several hours, maybe into the weekend, too,” Miller said.

There is no immediate danger to the public.

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