Crews have started removing two sunken barges that have been stuck in the dam in Webbers Falls for months. The barges slammed into Lock & Dam 16 then sank during historic flooding back in May that ravaged the community.
Salvage crews have been working since early morning on Tuesday, August 27, and they're hoping to make some progress. They were able to have part of the barge hooked up to two chains and they pulled it out just before 4 pm.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the process has taken months to plan. They had to wait until the flows went down in order to even bring salvage crews in to start to remove the barges.
There are about 20-30 people working on boats to try to remove the barges piece by piece. They don't know if the barges are attached - or how long this process will take at this point. They say they know there is some damage to Lock & Dam 16, but they don't know the extent of the damage right now.
The barges were carrying a phosphate rock that they said will not cause any damage downstream.
Two of the gates are still open at this time. Right now they don't believe there is damage to the gates, but they can't completely close them because the barges are down there. They say it's hard to tell the financial impact the barges have caused on the dam.
They say they will have to completely remove the barges to assess that.
WATCH: Crews Work To Remove Barges Stuck In Webbers Falls Dam