Search for crew after barge fire off Texas coast

PORT ARANSAS, Texas (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard searched for two missing crew members on Saturday from a crude oil-bearing barge that caught fire off the Texas coast.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Jennae Steinmiller says that emergency responders are also working to contain the spread of oil, which had reached the shoreline of Mustang Island, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico about 14 miles (22 kilometers)from the site of Friday morning’s explosion.

A Port Aransas city official told The Associated Press Friday that one of the crew members had died. Steinmiller wasn’t able Saturday to confirm the death, saying that no one had been recovered from the water.

The explosion happened while a tugboat with the barge was pulling in its anchor early Friday about 3 miles (5 kilometers) from Port Aransas. Steinmiller says the barge was carrying about 132,000 barrels of crude oil.

Six crew members were able to safely escape from the tugboat. The cause of the explosion was not immediately known.


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