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Divers Pumping Water From Old Steamboat

Tue., Aug. 26, 1997

Divers were pumping water Monday from the hull of the Belle of Louisiana, the oldest-running passenger steamboat in the United States that mysteriously sank into the mud of the Ohio River shortly after a passenger run.

As hundreds of people arrived to gawk at the listing steamboat, the Coast Guard spent much of the day having discussions with Belle of Louisville captain Mike Fitzgerald about how to get the steamboat raised and repaired.

The steamboat, built in 1914, was spotted sinking early Sunday morning just hours after a late Saturday night cruise. Towboats, pumps and a crane were quickly summoned but could not prevent the stern of the steamer and its bright-red paddle wheel from sinking into the mud under about 10 feet of water.

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