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Salvage crew raises sunken barge in Flathead Lake
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Salvage crew raises sunken barge in Flathead Lake

A salvage crew recovered a construction barge that sank in Flathead Lake last week during the arctic outbreak weather.

The crane-equipped barge belonging to McCrumb Construction and Marine went down in rough waters during a storm on Tuesday or Wednesday of last week, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. Subzero temperatures then created enough ice to lock much of the barge under water.

The barge was working on a construction project in White Swan Bay, northwest of Polson. It was re-floated on Wednesday.

Lake County Emergency Management Coordinator Mark Clary said the barge’s fuel tanks were not leaking, although some hydraulic fluid was showing on the surface of the lake. No one was on board or injured when it sank in about 10 feet of water.

“We had some rough waves on the lake,” Clary said. “It got swamped and tilted sideways, and that took it down.”

Clary said a salvage company out of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, was attempting to break away enough ice to place air bags under the barge and lift it high enough to make repairs.

Company owner Brett McCrumb said federal Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Coast Guard personnel were overseeing the recovery effort, along with officials from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

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