Planning continues on removing riverboat stuck in Lake Barkley

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TRIGG COUNTY, Ky. (WEHT) A riverboat is still stuck at Lake Barkley in western Kentucky.

The boat, part of a cruise headed to Nashville, stopped moving late last week just north of the Highway 68 bridge in Trigg County.

For the past several days, that riverboat has been stuck at Lake Barkley. While it has not moved much, the planning to get it moved from that spot is still progressing.

Of all the boats on the lake, the one that’s not moving is getting plenty of attention.

“It’s just an interesting thing, and it’s gotten everyone’s attention the last few days,” says Tim Embree of Cadiz, Ky.

Lt. John Nolan of the U.S. Coast Guard says all 120 passengers, and some of the 54 crew members were safely removed from the American Jazz riverboat a few days ago. 41 other crew members are still on the boat as of Sunday, according to American Cruise Lines officials. The guests were taken to a Nashville hospital. Meanwhile, the riverboat is out of the lake’s channel, and out of the path of local boaters.

The riverboat was in the middle of a 7-day cruise on its way to Nashville. Some residents say this doesn’t happen often, but it reminded them of similar incidents in the past.

“It kind of made me think about the boat that got hung under the old bridge several years ago,” recalled Embree.

“The how and why are something our investigators are looking into at this time,” Lt. Nolan added. He also says they’re working with American Cruise Lines to remove it, but didn’t go into specific details on how it would be moved. He says the riverboat is stuck in an area not as deep as other parts of the lake. American Cruise Lines officials say divers assessed the underwater situation on Sunday, and the riverboat is stuck on a sandbar.

“In the location where the vessel is currently sitting, it is somewhere between 6-8 feet as to where the vessel is currently sitting,” Lt. Nolan explained.

“It’s deceiving,” says Embree, when talking about lake depth. “You look out there across the lake and think ‘ Wow, that’s a lot of deep water,’ but very little of it is very deep.”

The U.S. Coast Guard is also reminding everyone to avoid going near the riverboat while it is still stuck there.

American Cruise Lines officials say American Jazz remains completely safe with all onboard systems operational and poses no danger to any crew who remain on board.

(This story was originally published on July 12, 2021)

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