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Barge breaks loose and strikes Illinois casino

29 December 2008

ALTON, Illinois -- As reported by The (Alton) Telegraph: "For the first time in 17 years, the Argosy Casino-Alton suspended operations when a shear barge broke loose from its moorings early Saturday morning and struck the casino's property.

"The barge, and a second one tethered to it, had been secured to a pylon near the shore by a steel cable. The barges float upriver from the casino complex and are designed to protect it from other river traffic. About 6:15 a.m. Saturday, pressure from ice build-up caused the cable to break, sending the barges floating until they came to rest against another barge housing the casino's employee cafeteria.

"There were no injuries and no damage to the facility, said Rich Laudon, vice president and general manager for Argosy Casino. Alton Fire Department Capt. Tim Quigley said the department was called to the scene to ensure utilities were secure and there was no gas leak or seeping water.

"A tugboat was expected to arrive Saturday afternoon from Limited Leasing Co. in Old Monroe, Mo., to move the barges back into place. A later statement released by Argosy Casino-Alton confirmed the barges were secured but the casino would not reopen until 8 a.m. Sunday..."

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