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West Virginia State Police dismantle bomb on barge in Ohio River

A tug and barges are seen from the Ohio side of the Ohio River next to the barge believed to be where West Virginia State Police dismantled a bomb found Thursday afternoon near the Pleasants/Tyler County line. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

RAVEN ROCK, W.Va. — The West Virginia State Police dismantled “a self-manufactured bomb” found on a barge on the Ohio River on Thursday near the Pleasants/Tyler County line.

Pleasants County Sheriff Chuck Mankins confirmed the device had been dismantled by a State Police bomb squad Thursday afternoon, after state, local and federal authorities had been on the scene since about 8 a.m.

“Apparently, they noticed it down at the (Willow Island) locks and dam,” Mankins said. “They spotted something that didn’t look right to them.”

Authorities appeared to be staging from multiple points in the area, including at Davis Nurseries off West Virginia 2 on the Pleasants County side of the line and not far away in Tyler County. The St. Marys Volunteer Fire Department put its boat in the water at the Frontier Boat Launch on the Ohio side of the river.

The U.S. Coast Guard said a safety zone was established between mile markers 141 and 145 where no river traffic was permitted. Barges could be seen stopped along the river at several points Thursday afternoon.

State, federal and local authorities responded Thursday afternoon to a reported bomb found on a barge on the Ohio River near the Pleasants/Tyler County line. A group is shown at Davis Nurseries off West Virginia 2. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

“We shut all traffic down on the river until we could be sure it was safe, with the bomb being dismantled,” Mankins said. “Any landing that (comes) into the river where you could launch a boat were all shut down.”

Mankins declined to describe the bomb in detail, citing the ongoing investigation.

“We’re looking into different factors to see where it may have come from,” he said.

No one had been detained or charged in the incident as of Thursday evening.

The West Virginia State Police, FBI, Coast Guard, Tyler County Sheriff’s Department, St. Marys Police Department, Marietta Fire Department and Washington County Sheriff’s Office all were on the scene and assisting at different points in the day, Mankins said.

State, federal and local authorities responded Thursday afternoon to a reported bomb found on a barge on the Ohio River near the Pleasants/Tyler County line. A group is shown at Davis Nurseries off West Virginia 2. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

The barge where the bomb was found was carrying gravel, Mankins said. It was not immediately clear who owned the vessel or from and to where it was traveling. A tug and second barge were seen at the site adjacent to what was believed to be the initial barge Thursday afternoon, possibly unloading the gravel.

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