Barge slams into Galveston bridge in Texas, causing partial collapse and shutdown

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A barge slammed into a bridge in Galveston on Wednesday, spilling oil into the bay and forcing a shutdown of the Texas span, officials said, in the latest accident involving prominent U.S. thoroughfares.

Aerial images showed that a section of a rail line alongside the bridge appeared to have collapsed, with slabs of concrete piled on the barge.

No injuries were immediately reported at the Pelican Island Causeway, following incident that unfolded shortly before 10 a.m. CT, according to a statement by the city of Galveston.

Two operators were on the barge at the time of the impact, said Spencer Jones, a spokesperson for the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management.

Jones added that one of the operators fell into the water but was immediately rescued, and the other remained on the barge after the crash and was eventually rescued, as well. No details were provided on how either operator was rescued but Jones noted that there were no injuries.

The barge was “carrying a base petroleum product,” according to a Coast Guard statement.

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A barge slammed into a bridge in Galveston on Wednesday.
A barge slammed into a bridge in Galveston on Wednesday.KPRC

“The collision has resulted in an oil spill in the bay,” the city said. “The U.S. Coast Guard is responding and will determine the extent of the spill, as well as initiate the containment and cleanup processes.”

Pelican Island is home to Texas A&M University at Galveston, a fishing pier and naval museum.

The university briefly lost power on campus but it was restored quickly and students have access to dining, the school said.

Barges go under that bridge multiple times a day, Galveston Fire Department spokesperson Marissa Barnett said.

The barge slammed into a bridge in Galveston spilling oil into the bay
The barge slammed into a bridge in Galveston spilling oil into the bayKPRC

Wednesday’s accident is the latest to plague American bridges and highways.

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Barnett pushed back on any comparisons between the Baltimore bridge collapse and this incident.

“People have asked if this is like the Baltimore bridge, this is not that,” Barnett said.

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