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Cleanup of Fuel on Mississippi from Sunken Boat Continues

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials are assessing the environmental damage after a towboat carrying 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel and oil sank in the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa.

The incident closed the river to barge traffic. The nine crew members are safe. A Coast Guard spokesman says the boat is still leaking diesel fuel and oil.

Officials from the Coast Guard, the EPA, the Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies don't yet know what the towboat struck before it began sinking yesterday afternoon. The Coast Guard says the river can't be reopened to traffic until the cause of the accident is determined.

There's still a smell of diesel fuel in the air near the site of the sinking, but the Coast Guard spokesman says air monitors show it's safe to breathe. He says there's no way of telling exactly how much oil has leaked into the water, but that booms appear to be collecting 90 percent of what's been spilled. He says the spill involves "hundreds of gallons as opposed to thousands of gallons."

Officials are developing a plan to try to raise the boat.

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