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Sunken barge in Chicago River towed away

The sunken barge in the Chicago River was missing Sunday morning, but it’s not gone forever.

The barge, which has drawn spectators to the Randolph and Lake street bridges since it sank more than three weeks ago, was moved south Saturday evening to a spot near Ashland Avenue, said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Alan Haraf, who is assigned to the public affairs office.

The barge was loaded with 750 yards of clay when it broke free from its mooring and sank Oct. 17. A channel was maintained by the Coast Guard so boats could get by.

A salvage company has been working to move the barge ever since, but progress had been “slow” until Saturday, Haraf said.

The center of the barge, which had been under water, was stabilized and brought afloat, said Jeremy Thomas, a Coast Guard petty officer first class.

A stable barge was then moored to the damaged barge and pushed it about 5 miles downriver, to a spot off to the side near Ashland.

The barge is expected to remain in the south branch of the river while work continues by the salvage company.

Thomas said it hasn’t been determined yet whether the barge will be scrapped or repaired once it’s removed from the river.

The barge was not the only one to recently sink in Chicago. On Halloween, a haunted house attraction on a floating barge took on water and began sinking into the lake.

The haunted house, called Zombie Containment, was damaged by high winds and waves and was closed for the season.