Cajun Whitewater Rafting
February 13, 2002 12:36 PM   Subscribe

Cajun Whitewater Rafting What does a towboat do when the bridge doesn't open? Becomes a submarine.
posted by joaquim (18 comments total)
That's awesome. Excellent case study in tugboat design.

But what river did this take place on?
posted by insomnyuk at 12:55 PM on February 13, 2002

But why didn't the bridge open?
posted by ginz at 1:02 PM on February 13, 2002

That was cool. I wish it was a video.

And, I hope no one died.
posted by ColdChef at 1:08 PM on February 13, 2002

I don't know what river it was on. The link was sent to me by a FOAF.
posted by joaquim at 1:19 PM on February 13, 2002

I assume the river is in the USA. Don't they have traffic
lights attached to bridges to signal the boats?
Or did something else go wrong?
posted by ginz at 1:25 PM on February 13, 2002

Been there. Done that.
posted by etc. at 1:29 PM on February 13, 2002

It looks like the water is running over the bridge in the 11th photo, probably causing the short.

Now, the real question is, what kind of idiot moves a barge down a flooding river?
posted by DragonBoy at 1:33 PM on February 13, 2002

Ginz: I think the appearance of a large, concrete and steel structure obstructing the river serves as an appropriate metaphor for a red light.

Try reading the whole thing ginz, I'm assuming the captain thought the bridge was going to be raised, so he maintained a steady speed, and when he realized the bridge was not going to be raised, it was too late.
posted by insomnyuk at 1:34 PM on February 13, 2002

HOLY COW! "Notice the propwash at the rear of the tug. The boat is upright and back under power. " Simply amazing.
posted by tomplus2 at 1:38 PM on February 13, 2002

Excellent link. Thank you.
posted by yesster at 1:49 PM on February 13, 2002

Frames 3 and 4 seem to indicate that this whole thing happened in the (boom-chicka-boom) 70's. Or perhaps all Southerners are fashion retarded.

Also, doesn't it seem odd that someone was there to capture the whole thing on camera? Not saying its fake, but talk about right-place-at-right-time...
posted by sharksandwich at 2:02 PM on February 13, 2002

Ginz: Or did something else go wrong?

I sent this to a friend who has some experience on tugboats. He says that the tugboat captain will radio the bridgekeeper and tell him there is traffic on the way. This is usually done quite a distance from the bridge, so either the faster flood current fooled them, the bridgekeeper fell asleep, or something went wrong with the bridge mechanism. He said that most of the bridges on the Mississippi are drawbridges, but that this bridge looked to him like a pivot bridge (one where the central span pivots parallel to the river to let traffic pass). It might be that the bridge itself could not turn against the current or the bridgekeeper was afraid that once it turned, it would not be able to close.

etc: Been there. Done that.

etc., Did you mean you've been in such a situtation or that you've seen this link before? If the latter, do you have any more info on it?

sharksandwich: Be careful what you say about Southerners. You can get arrested in Alabama for sneering at an official Bear Bryant Houndstooth Hat.
posted by joaquim at 2:51 PM on February 13, 2002

*sigh* Why don't people ever thumbnail galleries like this? I didn't need to download every single one of those full-size.
posted by dhartung at 4:30 PM on February 13, 2002

It's also quite possible that the bridge had been deemed too dangerous to keep manned during the flood, and that there was no-one there to a) open it, or b) warn the tugboat captain that the bridge couldn't open for some reason. I wonder why the tug was still going down the river, though. Maybe he didn't get the memo?
posted by Hildago at 4:32 PM on February 13, 2002

Joaquim: In reality, I've never been anywhere or done anything, but I like to appear more worldly than I really am.

I liked the link, but I am stuck with a nagging question: If I were on that boat, at what point exactly would I have soiled myself?
posted by etc. at 7:49 AM on February 14, 2002

The story behind these pictures has been posted here. The original site should be updated soon.
posted by pekar wood at 7:02 AM on March 5, 2002

Thanks for the update, pekar wood!
posted by ColdChef at 7:29 AM on March 5, 2002

Thanks for the story link, pekar wood; looking closely, one can see that the bridge is actually up. The tug missed the channel.
posted by Dick Paris at 10:39 PM on March 7, 2002

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