Do not try this at home. Remember, this is a professional captain.
SCROLL DOWN TO SEE PHOTO SEQUENCE
The below photos were taken on April 19th, 1979 of the tug M/V CAHABA which was bringing barges filled with coal down on the Tombigbee River in Western Alabama. It was common practice to release the barges close to shore where the current was less. They would drift with the current under a fixed draw of the bridge. The tug would then back full and pass under the open portion of the bridge, catch up with the barges, and proceed down river. Apparently the crew on the barges were unable to cast off the cables and the tug was drawn under the fixed portion of the bridge as shown below. An excellent article appears in the June/July issue of the Professional Mariner on the background of these photos.
The towboat is approaching the bridge with barges loaded with coal.
This frame gives you an idea of how fast the river is running. Obviously at or near flood stage
Oh CRAP!!! The bridge didn't open and the boat can't stop. Notice that the tug has released the barges.
He is backing as hard as possible to try and avoid a collision with the bridge.
Can't back down enough against the current.
Uh Oh! The current has swung the boat around sideways.
The cook thinks maybe something isn't quite right.
The boss is going to be REAL mad!
Uh... Boss? Do we have flood insurance on this boat?
Uh.... Boss? You ain't gonna believe what we just did!
She's low, but the flag is still flying.
The wheelhouse door and the door in the second deck are now open.
Look close at the bottom righthand side of the picture and you will see that the bridge guardrail is underwater.
Look at the water pouring out of the second deck doorway.
The working deck is still underwater, but rising.
Notice anything unusual? Look at the smoke coming from the exhausts. This thing is running!!!
Notice the propwash at the rear of the tug. The boat is upright and back under power.
Ho Hum. Just another day on the river.