Barge accident spills oil, closes stretch of Mississippi River

MISSISSIPPI RIVER — The U.S. Coast Guard says an oil tanker barge collided with another barge on the Mississippi River, spilling oil and leading officials to close a five-mile stretch of the river.

Officials say the collision happened around 2 a.m. today about 50 miles upriver from New Orleans. The wreck tore a gash into the double-hulled tank of the tanker barge, which was being pushed by a tugboat.

Chief Petty Officer John Edwards says neither vessel sank and no one was hurt. He says the leak has been contained, and the Coast Guard is trying to determine how much oil spilled.

A cleanup company has been hired to deal with the spill.

St. Charles Parish shut down both of its water intakes from the river, though officials say there is no threat to the public.

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