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Tug boat swept over Mississippi River dam near La Crosse

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Tug boat Megan McB in La Crosse Harbor
Tug boat Megan McB in La Crosse Harbor

DRESBACH, MN (WSAU) -- A tugboat lost power and was washed over the top of a dam on the Mississippi River just north of La Crosse Wednesday. Emergency crews were summoned at about 6:00 a.m. to Lock and Dam #7 at Dresbach, Minnesota.

Two of the tug boat's crew members escaped, but a 22-year-old man died after being trapped in the second level of the boat.

The tug was nearly brand new. The Megan McB was operated by Brennan Marine of La Crosse, and just started service a few weeks ago.

A statement from Brennan Marine says high water and increased current speeds swept the M/V Megan McB through the roller gates on the dam, destabilizing the craft, and causing it to take on water. It remains sideways at the base of the dam until boats and equipment big enough to move it can be brought in to assist.

Chief Deputy Sheriff Dave Brand from Winona County Minnesota says the river is closed to traffic from Houston County Minnesota upstream to Winona, and will stay closed until the investigation is completely finished.

The name of the dead crewman has not yet been released.

This is the second large craft to be swept over the Dresbach Dam this year. A rented houseboat went over Lock & Dam #7 with 11 people on-board in May.

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