ST. LOUIS – St. Louis firefighters successfully rescued two boaters trapped in the Mississippi River on Tuesday after their boat got stuck on the Chain of Rocks. The rescue happened shortly after 4 p.m., south of the Chain of Rocks bridge. No injuries were reported.
There is a canal that allows boat traffic to bypass the chain. The vessel, a 44-foot sailboat, mistakenly went down the main river channel.
A tow company deployed three boats to recover the vessel stuck on the Chain of Rocks but determined they would need a barge and crane to safely move it. There was a concern the river current could take the rescue boats over the dam.
St. Louis Fire Department Rescue Capt. Mario Montero said this doesn’t happen often.
“It was very crazy,” he said. “We took our motor off of our boat and we tied (it) onto Marine Unit 4, which is a bigger boat, and basically what we did is have them tether our boat. Let our boat basically float down to their boat, and as soon as we got them off their boat, it was throttle up to get us out of this current, get us upriver.”
After hours of effort trying to remove it, the boat named “White Widower” will have to stay where it is overnight due to the dangerous currents.
“The water is, of course, moving very fast over the dam, and so the concern is if they got close enough to the disabled boat to attach a line, that they would be swept up by the current and taken over the falls themselves,” said Capt. Terry Trucks, with Tow Boat U.S.
A barge will have to be hired with a crane in order to retrieve the boat. The towing company hopes to accomplish that tomorrow afternoon.
Trucks’ advice to fellow sailors is to “Use the barge canal; do not attempt to go down the main river.”