Barge breaks free, floats miles down Columbia



ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) — A derelict barge broke free from its mooring and floated several miles down the Columbia River before it ran aground and crews reached it with a tugboat.

Coast Guard spokesman Shawn Eggert says the 90-foot-long barge broke free from near the Dalles Dam Sunday morning and went aground twice as it floated for several miles.

Private contractors with a tugboat were securing the vessel, about 65 miles east of Portland.

Eggert tells The Associated Press early Monday that the barge will be held stable until morning when the Army Corps of Engineers and Coast Guard will determine its condition and where to tow it.

There have been no injuries, but Eggert says the craft is a danger to boats. It is empty and poses no pollution threat.

The barge floated for several miles but Eggert says it’s still not clear exactly how far.