Boat trapped on Chain of Rocks likely ‘sunk by storms’


ST. LOUIS – After nearly a month trapped in the middle of the Mississippi River, the boat named the White Widow is now gone.

The tow company commissioned to remove it—TowBoat US—said the vessel is most likely now on the river floor.

“Until it shows up some time with low water or something, it’s probably going to be there forever because trying to find it is going to be pretty tough,” said Paul Hopkins, owner of TowBoat US and Port Charles Harbor.

TowBoat US waited three weeks for insurance approval to remove the boat but to no avail. But when the White Widow went missing Monday, they got the green light to search.

All they found was a dinghy.

They shared the news with the boat’s owner.

“He was watching the weather also and watching the river levels rising from the storms up north so he figured this would happen,” Hopkins said.

Since getting stuck, crowds of people have been visiting the riverbanks to see the boat for themselves.

“We were waiting for it to move, each time we came out we swore it looked like it moved a little more,” said tourist Terry Goette.

Hopkins said the boat is probably 15-20 feet high and the water is around 30 feet deep.

Now most likely swallowed up, with all the owner’s belongings in it, by the added rain totals.

“I wanted to come back and see what happens and see if we could catch them in the action of doing it, getting it out,” said tourist Bruce Graves.

Recovering the vessel at this point would be a tough job.

“You’d have to just search it with a sonar defender and look for a big object underwater, so if they wanted us to do that, we would do that, but otherwise we’d never know where it is,” Hopkins said.

As of right now, there are no more search efforts underway. It’s now up to the boat owner to move forward.

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