Barge halted on Mississippi River, bomb squad called in to inspect suspicious package

Published 8:24 pm Sunday, May 5, 2024

A barge on the Mississippi River was stopped about a mile south of the Adams County port Sunday afternoon when officials received a report of a suspicious package found on board.

A bomb squad from Jackson and officers from the Office of Homeland Security were called in to inspect the package found on the barge.

Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said he received a call from 911 at approximately 1:30 p.m. Sunday about a suspicious package found on a barge. Adams County Emergency Management, FBI, Adams County Search and Rescue, Wildlife and Fisheries, and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency were also contacted in addition to Adams County and Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Offices, the Jackson Police Department bomb squad, and Homeland Security, he said.

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Approximately five hours later, officials determined that the suspicious bag found on board was not a threat.

According to Patten, the suspicious black bag was found by crew members deep in a poorly lit bin where typically only transported materials would be.

“It was only suspicious because of where it was. It was out of place in one of the hatches. They responded in the right way by calling and not trying to move it themselves,” he said.

Immediately after crew members noticed the bag on board, the barge contacted the U.S. Coast Guard, which notified Adams County 911.

Out of an abundance of caution, the barge had a temporary emergency docking about a mile south of the Adams County port — before reaching the Mississippi River bridge — and those on board were evacuated, Patten said. Then Homeland Security and Jackson bomb squad officers rode out to the barge on boats to do a safety check.

Once it was determined there was no threat to the crew or anyone in the vicinity, the crew members were safely transported back to the barge to continue as they were going, Patten said.

“I want to thank all the agencies who responded,” he said, adding those who did had “technology that we did not have at the local level. We’d rather be safe than sorry.”