Pelican Island Bridge in Galveston struck by barge, causing portion to collapse: officials

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A large barge crashed into the Pelican Island Bridge in Texas on Wednesday, causing a section of the bridge, including railroad tracks, to smash down onto the barge, Fox 7 Austin reports.

Officials say there were no reports of injuries in the collision that occurred around 10 a.m. 

However, Galveston County Judge Mark Henry says two crew members did go overboard but were recovered from the water, Fox 7 Austin reports. 

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Henry says the collision caused oil to spill from the barge, which has a capacity of 30,000 gallons, although it is unclear how much of it went into the water. 

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Video from the scene shows debris from the bridge and part of the rail tracks on top of the barge as it rests against the bridge. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the barge to strike the bridge.

Pelican Island is located north of Galveston and is connected to the city by the bridge. The bridge is the only way people can access the island by land and officials say the bridge has been shut down to traffic in both directions.

Texas A&M University at Galveston, which is located on Pelican Island, reported that its power was briefly shut off but it has since been restored. Texas A&M University at Galveston is an ocean-oriented branch campus of Texas A&M University. 

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The incident comes about six weeks after the tragic Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore, Maryland, when a Sri Lanka-bound container ship hit the structure, causing it to fall into the Baltimore harbor, killing six construction workers.

The disaster in Baltimore, and a spate of recent incidents involving barges and bridges has highlighted the vulnerability of bridges to strikes.

Just last Thursday, a barge struck the Fort Madison Bridge in Iowa and later sank in the Mississippi River. 

In that incident, the U.S. Coast Guard tells Fox News Digital that there were 15 barges being moved by a tug boat when one of them became loose and collided with the nearly 100-year-old bridge.

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Meanwhile, last month, more than two dozen river barges broke loose from their moorings and floated down the Ohio River in Pittsburgh, striking one bridge that had already been preemptively closed and damaging a marina, officials said. 

The boats eventually were pinned to the riverbank or went over a dam downstream.

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