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Tugboat crashes into Luling bridge, two barges of grain sink in Mississippi River

The tugboat was identified as the Cooperative Spirit. A vessel with the same name was involved in a fatal crash with another tugboat earlier this year.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

LULING, La. — A tugboat leading a train of barges of grain collided with the Luling Bridge Sunday morning, sinking two of the barges in the Mississippi River.

UPDATE: As of 11:30 a.m. the Mississippi River has been closed near the Luling Bridge, upriver from New Orleans. The river is closed between mile markers 115 and 122. Officials did not say when it would reopen. 

No injuries were reported in the 1:30 a.m. crash, according to John Michelli, a spokesman for the Coast Guard.

Two of the 29 barges being pulled by the tugboat sank in the crash. It's unclear how much grain was spilled into the Mississippi. 

"Two sunk, the remaining 27 were in the process of being corralled," he said at 7 a.m. Sunday. 

Shortly before noon, the Coast Guard said 26 of the barges had been recovered, and one was still unaccounted for. 

No damage to the bridge was reported. 

The tugboat was identified as the Cooperative Spirit. A vessel with the same name was involved in a fatal crash with another tugboat earlier this year that killed three men on the other vessel. 

Coast Guard officials could not confirm if the boat involved in Sunday's crash was the same Cooperative Spirit. 

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