Waterfront restaurant on Ohio River breaks free, hits bridge - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Update: Coast Guard tows Waterfront restaurant to Hebron

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COVINGTON, KENTUCKY (FOX19) -

Jeff Ruby's Waterfront restaurant on the Ohio River broke loose from its moorings Thursday and struck the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge.

The restaurant went adrift just after 11 a.m. prompting The US Coast Guard to come to the scene to secure the boat. With the help of Duke Energy, they towed the boat down river Friday morning where it will reportedly go to a dry dock in Hebron.

Two employees, identified as Steve Poe and Bob Fogle, were exiting the restaurant on Thursday as it began to break free.

"I walked off the barge and came to get my van," says Fogle. "I heard a loud snapping noise. I turn around and see the barge moving. All of the ramps started turning and twisting. They broke off one at a time."

Fogle says he was able to jump to shore safely. However, a second employee remained onboard.

"I started to get off the main ramp. I ran half way down it and it fell into the river," explains Poe. "I was able to get back on to the boat."

Steve Poe says he was stuck on the barge for over an hour before help arrived. Poe says he calmly remained onboard.

"There was a tug that came up from Ludlow," adds Poe. "He pulled up to the back and I just stepped on it and got off. I was out there for about an hour and a half."

Poe says that the barge came loose from its moorings after being continuously stuck by ice.

"There was a big chuck that hit it earlier and it rocked the whole boat. I thought a barge hit it," says Poe. "I went up to see what hit it and there was a lot of ice coming from the Licking River.

"I was keeping an eye on it. I didn't think that it would break loose," adds Poe. "One hit it and the ramp started giving."  

After Poe was rescued, tugboats remained to stabilize the Waterfront. Crews from Duke Energy were also called to the scene.

"When the boat broke free, the utilities connected to the boat obviously disconnected," explains Covington Fire Chief Dan Mathew. "We had a natural gas leak and electric lines were in the water."

Mathew adds that the Waterfront was on fire at one point. The fire has since been put out.

Located along Covington's riverfront, the Waterfront previously broke loose from its moorings in March 2011.

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