Homemade Bomb on Barge Dismantled by West Virginia Police, No Suspects Yet

A "self-manufactured bomb" was dismantled by West Virginia State Police after being located on a barge in the Ohio River on Thursday.

Local state and federal authorities responded to the scene around 8 a.m. on Thursday. Pleasants County Sheriff Chuck Mankins said the explosive device was dismantled that afternoon, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel reported.

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"Apparently, they noticed it down at the (Willow Island) locks and dam," Mankins said. The barge was on the Ohio River near the Pleasants/Tyler County Line. "They spotted something that didn't look right to them."

Police appeared to be setting up multiple points in the area by a nursery off West Virginia 2 on the Pleasants County side, but not far away from Tyler County, according to the outlet.

The St. Marys Volunteer Fire Department joined the efforts on the Ohio side of the water by boat. A safety perimeter was also created between mile markers 141 and 145 to prevent traffic on the river, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

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

tug pushes barges on the Ohio River
Local state and federal authorities responded to the scene around 8 a.m. on Thursday and Pleasants County Sheriff Chuck Mankins said the explosive device was dismantled that afternoon. Pictured: A tug boat pushes barges on the Ohio River on October 12, 2021, near Cairo, Illinois. Scott Olson/Getty Image

West Virginia authorities would not describe the bomb in detail due to an ongoing investigation but said it was a homemade explosive. As of Thursday, no one has been charged in connection to the incident.

Law enforcement said that the barge was carrying gravel, not hazardous materials and that the bomb was spotted by dam personnel around 2 a.m. going through a lock and dam. Police were called later in the morning.

Mankins said it was not clear who owned the vessel or where it was traveling from. There was a towboat and three barges near the scene, according to West Virginia media.

"We're looking into different factors to see where it may have come from," he said.

State police dismantled the device but troopers said it did not appear to have all the necessary pieces to cause an explosion. No injuries were reported.

The West Virginia State Police, FBI, ATF, Coast Guard, Tyler County Sheriff's Department, St. Marys Police Department, Marietta Fire Department and Washington County Sheriff's Office all assisted with the incident.

Newsweek reached out to the Pleasants County Prosecutor's Office for comment.