Boat and Barges Temporarily Stranded on Monongahela River

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
8 September 2011
By Liz Navratil

The captain of a tow boat pulling nine jumbo coal barges along the Monongahela River lost the ability to steer Wednesday night, temporarily stranding the boat near Braddock.

Shortly before 7 p.m., the captain of the Sam M. Fleming put out a distress call saying he could no longer steer, said Jeff Hawk, a spokesman for the local post of the Army Corps of Engineers. Hawk did not know what caused the boat to malfunction just north of Lock Two near Braddock.

Allegheny County dispatchers heard Wednesday night that an engine might have caught on fire.

Mr. Hawk said two private tow boats, which would normally compete with the Sam M. Fleming but "come out to help in emergencies," assisted the crew. The Braddock and McKeesport river rescue teams also responded.

Both Mr. Hawk and dispatchers said no one was injured.

Representatives from the Tennessee-based Ingram Barge Company, which owns the Sam M. Fleming, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Liz Navratil: