Fishermen on the Arkansas River say boat and barges off course long before bridge accident

Thursday, June 20th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Some new accounts about what happened the day of the I-40 bridge collapse. Some fishermen believe the boat and barges were way off course long before they hit the bridge.

The fisherman were part of a tournament that morning. Buddy Barns of Tulsa and his friend were fishing two or two and a half miles from the bridge. He says they thought something was wrong when they saw the barge near Dirty Creek. “He said boy that barge sure is way out of that navigation channel and huggin' that bank. He was further over on that West bank that I've ever seen any kind of barge or river traffic at all.” Barns says that was about a half hour before the barge hit the bridge.

The towboat crew claims they saw the captain about ten minutes before the crash and everything seemed all right. The head of the fishing tournament is compiling all the fishermen's accounts to send to the National Transportation Safety Board.