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Barge crashes into Vancouver’s seawall as rainfall drenches southern B.C.

Click to play video: 'Barge drifts loose in Vancouver’s English Bay as atmospheric river drenches B.C.' Barge drifts loose in Vancouver’s English Bay as atmospheric river drenches B.C.
Downtown Vancouver Twitter users shared footage of the free-floating vessel, which came close to the shoreline and Burrard Bridge – Nov 15, 2021

A barge drifted loose in Vancouver’s English Bay on Monday afternoon as an atmospheric river drenched the southern part of the province, leading to widespread flooding.

Downtown Vancouver Twitter users shared footage of the runaway vessel, which crashed into the seawall near Sunset Beach.

The City of Vancouver said the Burrard Bridge will be closed Monday night “due to the risk of the barge at Sunset Beach coming loose and colliding with the bridge.”

The City went on to say plans were underway to tow the barge off the shore.

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: Heavy rain and wind cause chaos in Metro Vancouver' B.C. floods: Heavy rain and wind cause chaos in Metro Vancouver
B.C. floods: Heavy rain and wind cause chaos in Metro Vancouver – Nov 15, 2021

According to the Canadian Coast Guard, the barge’s owner has been contacted and is planning to retrieve it “at the first available opportunity.”

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“Coast Guard is not aware of any persons onboard nor any risks of pollution,” said spokesperson Michelle Imbeau in an emailed statement. “It has been confirmed that there are no hydrocarbons on board.”

The vessel drew a large crowd of onlookers to Sunset Beach.

Kitsilano Coast Guard crews were deployed to the scene to keep the area safe, as waves at least a metre in height splashed pedestrians and cyclists.

The barge’s owner is responsible for securing, salvaging and arranging a tow, however, Imbeau confirmed.

Read more: Helicopter rescues begin for about 275 people trapped between mudslides in Agassiz, B.C.

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While the Canadian Coast Guard is the lead agency for the incident, the Port of Vancouver said it’s keeping an eye on the runaway barge.

“We are monitoring the situation as it evolves to ensure the barge does not pose a hazard to marine navigation,” wrote Port of Vancouver spokesperson Matti Polychronis.

Stanley Park and the seawall are closed temporarily due to high winds, according to the Vancouver Park Board.

The rainfall, and ensuing flooding, landslides and mudslides have shut down major arterial highways in the province and forced several city-wide evacuations.

Hundreds were stranded in cars and emergency shelters as of Monday afternoon.

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