A barge hauling scrap metal about 15 miles west of the Columbia River entrance was reported capsized to the U.S. Coast Guard this morning at 7:30 a.m.

A helicopter crew from Air Station Astoria and a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Station Cape Disappointment were been sent to the scene, said Mark Dobney, civilian search and rescue controller for Coast Guard Group Astoria.

A 100-foot tug, a Canadian vessel named General Jackson, was pulling the 295-foot barge when it apparently began to take on water, and may have flipped over, Dobney said. The contents, whose weight is unknown, may have been lost, he added.

The Coast Guard planned to assess whether the barge could be salvaged once they arrived at the scene, but the tug's crew did not need hands-on assistance this morning, Dobney said.

The Coast Guard will soon visit the scene to assess the environmental impact of the incident, he said.

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