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Towboat sank with 10,000 gallons fuel

ST. LOUIS - It could be weeks before the level and current of the Mississippi River subside sufficiently for crews to safely salvage a towboat that inexplicably sank with 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel aboard, the Coast Guard said Wednesday.

The 70-foot, 140-ton Jim Marko sank Tuesday near the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge at St. Louis after four crew members were rescued unharmed, the Coast Guard said. A pollution-control team is on standby to deal with any possible seepage of the boat's cargo.

There is a small amount of film visible on the river's surface near the wreckage but no evidence as of Wednesday that large amounts of the sunken boat's fuel has escaped, a regional Coast Guard spokesman, Lt. Timothy Marriott, told The Associated Press.

"We are actively monitoring it, and at this point it appears to be stable," Marriott said. "We have patrols continuing throughout the day and will continue to do what we can to capture anything if it does escape."

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