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Sunken Towboat May Float Soon

One week after it sank in the Mississippi River at LeClaire, a towboat may soon be floating again. Coast Guard Petty Officer First Class, Mariana O'Leary, says several barges with large cranes arrived over the weekend, and divers began rigging slings around the towboat. And a test "lift" on Sunday was successful.

"The sunken part of the aft or stern deck of the vessel is now above the water several feet. And today they've started pumping out the vessel by making patches. Crews are making patches, including over the doors and windows so they can start to pump out the water that's in it."

O'Leary says floating the ship may take up to one week. And while that's going on, the Coast Guard and other federal and state agencies will continue trying to recover fuel and oil from the water.

"Even though we got all the oil off the vessel, we still expect pockets of oil once we shift or start moving that vessel around that are trapped under it to come up. We're seeing a little of that so we've mitigated that by placing extra booms around it and having our crews ready to mop it up."

Safety zones around the area have been marked on shore so spectators stay at a safe distance from the work zone.

(photo courtesy of the US Coast Guard)