A grotesque collision of fossil-fuel-laden vessels happened in a bayou south of New Orleans on Tuesday evening, where tug-boat operators crashed a barge carrying crude oil into a submerged natural-gas pipeline.
The result was predictable: A spectacular conflagration erupted that injured two of the four members of the tug-boat crew, including the captain, who reportedly suffered burns covering more than three quarters of his body. Emergency crews on Wednesday were scrambling to contain spilled oil spreading south of the accident.
The crash occurred at about 6 p.m. local time 30 miles south of New Orleans on Bayou Perot, according to the Coast Guard.
Pipeline owner Chevron isolated the severed section of line by shutting off some of its valves, and emergency crews allowed the gas left inside it to burn off, The Washington Post reports. Various outlets reported that the barge was carrying more than 2,000 barrels of oil and that the tug boat was fueled with diesel.