Virginia pier collapses following loose barge strike

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HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A portion of the Buckroe Fishing Pier collapsed Sunday morning after a loose barge struck the pier, officials say.

Hampton Fire officials along with Hampton Police, the U.S. Coast Guard, and Virginia Marine Resources Commission responded.

According to Hampton dispatch, calls for a “loose barge” came around 5:40 a.m. Sunday, however, they did not receive calls about it running into the pier until 9 a.m.

Freddy Bonilla expected a relaxing weekend with family in Hampton by Buckroe Beach, but ended up shooting a video of the barge hitting the pier.

“We’re eating breakfast cause he has the view of the beach and then all of a sudden my wife says hey what’s that big black thing sticking up in the air?” he said.

The couple first saw it off in the distance then they quickly realized what was happening.

“We just see what is like a pontoon type of thing and it just shouldn’t be there and it is just floating and you can see it thrashing against the pier,” he said.

At the time Freddy, who is behind the camera, also got worried.

“I was thinking well hopefully there is no one on the pier fishing cause they’ll be stuck over there if that thing falls down, but I was just thinking ‘wow it’s gonna fall it’s gonna fall,'” he said.

Photo Courtesy – Hampton Police (taken before the pier collapsed)

The beach is closed from Resort to Seaboard to all traffic, including vehicular and foot. Crews were on the scene attempting to secure the loose barge.

According to Hampton police, there were people on the pier. Police say they were evacuated as the barge got closer.

Corporal Amanda Moreland says no one was hurt.

“Just because of the storm and the wind it has continued to drift and then it struck the Buckroe Fishing Pier, and caused a portion of it to collapse,” Moreland said.

Winds were so strong they carried the barge from one city to another.

“It was determined that it actually wasn’t secured in Hampton, it was from another jurisdiction, so it had drifted quite a ways,” Moreland said.

Police say the barge owner is being cooperative and they have all hands on deck, or pier in this case.

Moreland said, “Public works is out here assisting with the barge owner and Hampton fire, the Virginia Marine Resource Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard. All of them are coordinating together.”

(Video Courtesy – Karen Freddy Bonilla)

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