Guardsmen, patrol officers rescued from floodway | St. Louis Public Radio

Guardsmen, patrol officers rescued from floodway

May 6, 2011

Updated 1 p.m. with news of river closure to traffic.

The Missouri National Guard and Missouri State Highway Patrol have performed countless water rescues during the flood of 2011. But late Thursday and early Friday, many of the soldiers and officers found themselves in need of rescue.

Thirty-three soldiers and some patrol members in six boats became stuck in a low-water spot while patrolling near where the Birds Point levee was intentionally breached on Monday in southeast Missouri to relieve pressure on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.

The Guard says no one was in in any significant danger. About half were rescued Thursday before dark. When darkness fell, provisions were dropped in so the others could stay overnight on the levee. They were rescued Friday morning.

The same flooding that prompted the Corps to blow the levee is also forcing the U.S. Coast Guard to close a section of the Mississippi River  over fears that ship wakes could increase the flood risk at Caruthersville.

The river is expected to crest in the southeast Missouri town early Monday at 49.5 feet, just a half-foot below the top of the town's floodwall.

No boats will be allowed along a stretch of the Mississippi River from about two miles upstream of Caruthersville to about three miles downstream of the city until next Saturday.