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Two barges break loose again, threatening dam near Webbers Falls

Published: May. 23, 2019 at 11:23 AM CDT
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WEBBERS FALLS, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma town says two barges are again loose and headed down the swollen Arkansas River toward a dam.

The barges near Webbers Falls first became loose Wednesday night, and officials had warned it would be “catastrophic” if they collided with a nearby dam. The two barges became stuck in rocks overnight but somehow broke loose Thursday morning as crews tried to secure them.

Aerial footage from Tulsa television station KOTV shows the pair of barges, apparently still tied together, floating slowly down the river.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation says the Interstate 40 bridge and a state highway bridge remain closed over the Arkansas River at Webber Falls.

Over Memorial Day weekend in 2002, a barge struck the Interstate 40 bridge pier at Webbers Falls, causing part of the bridge to collapse into the Arkansas River. Fourteen people died after their vehicles plunged into the water.

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