LUDLOW, Ky. — Crews were still pulling debris from the Ohio River more than 24 hours after a barge smashed into the Ludlow Bromley Yacht Club.
Officials deemed the floating bar and restaurant a total loss after a barge slammed into it at about 6 a.m. Wednesday. Chief Scott Smith said the kitchen was sinking by Wednesday morning. Tables, bars and refrigerators were also starting to go underwater.
As of 3 p.m. Thursday, the river was closed to all traffic between the mile marker 472 and mile marker 476.
The cleanup process is slow, Lt. Jim Brendel said. Crews are trying to remove submerged metal from the middle of the river, which involves divers attaching chains to the debris so they can pull them out of the water.
Once cleanup is complete, the U.S. Coast Guard will scan the bottom of the river. Officials will reopen the river once the Coast Guard determines it is safe.
Brendel said "time is money for towing companies.” Crews are working as quickly as they can, but their primary focus is safety.
Kim Bauer, executive director at Portsmouth-Scioto County Visitors Bureau, said the Ohio River has always been a boon to the economy.
“It’s a waterway that you can transport things all the way from Pittsburgh all the way to New Orleans … you can go right down the Ohio River and hit the Mississippi,” Bauer said. “It’s a wonderful way of transporting products, so it’s very vital and very important to a lot of companies.”
Officials are working to reopen the river as quickly as possible. They had hoped to have it open by Thursday afternoon.