Vehicle mishap leaves Grafton Ferry stranded on river

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – The Grafton Ferry was temporarily stranded along the Mississippi River Friday afternoon following a mishap with a vehicle.

According to the US Coast Guard, the ferry was taking on cars on the St. Charles County side of the river. A privately-owned excavation company was also trying to remove a track hoe from a trailer that was on the ferry, but something went wrong.

"The bottom of the trailer struck the ramp to the ferry barge," said Trooper Dustin Duffie, Missouri State Highway Patrol. "The tractor-trailer driver hit the gas and caused the weight differential with the trailer and (that caused) the 60,000-pound excavator to shift the weight of the ferry and the tie came loose."

Five other vehicles were on the ferry at the time of the incident.

No injuries were reported. The ferry sustained damage to its gate.

The Coast Guard said it’s monitoring the situation.

"Nobody was hurt, it was one of those freak accidents," said Denise Knight, a spokesperson for the Calhoun Ferry Company. "Several things happened in a row that was out of everyone's control at that point and a series of events that led to a track hoe and trailer ending up in the river."

As night descended on the river, local tow truck companies spent several hours attempting to pull the track hoe from the water. As of 10 p.m., the towing company was still working to pull out the ferry.

Early Saturday morning, officials on the Missouri side said they didn't have the right equipment to finish the work. They’re going to be back out at 10 a.m. Saturday to get it done, hopefully ahead of the Blessing of the Fleet and Parade event at 1 p.m.

Saturday is also the first day that the St. Charles Riverside Landing Boat Ramp opens, which is part of a new county park.

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