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Tow boat collides with Mississippi River lock and dam

Buffalo County sheriff's officials say the tow was pushing a barge towards lock and dam number 4 when it lost control, impacting a portion of the structure.
Credit: Peter Schultz
A tow boat is wedged and stuck in lock and dam 4 after its pilot lost control late Saturday on the Mississippi River in Alma, Wisconsin.

ALMA, Wisconsin — Investigators from a number of agencies are trying to determine why a towboat pushing at least one barge crashed into a lock and dam near Alma, Wisconsin late Saturday. 

The Buffalo County Sheriff's Office says the towboat, operated by the Canal Barge Company, was moving its load southbound on the Mississippi River just after 11 p.m. when the pilot lost control, continued downstream and struck lock and dam number four.  

In a press release, sheriff's officials said all members of the crew were able to safely evacuate the vessel, and it appears no cargo or fuel spilled into the river. 

No personnel operating the lock were injured in the incident. 

Credit: Peter Schultz
It took crews hours to safely remove the the disabled tow boat and barges Sunday.

Photos sent to KARE 11 by viewer Peter Schultz show the tow boat Susan J Gundlach listing and wedged inside the lock and dam's infrastructure.

Crews worked for hours Sunday trying to free the stuck tow boat, and Monday morning a deputy with Buffalo County told KARE 11 the boat and barges had been removed and secured.

As of Monday morning a live interactive map showed the Gundlach at dock in Alma. 

At this time it is unknown if the incident impacted operations of the lock and dam itself. 

The crash is being investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard. 

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