‘It’s gone!’: Neighbors watch the American Jazz Cruise Ship sail away after being stuck for 10 days


CADIZ, Ky. (WKRN) – Friday afternoon marked a big moment for the residents in a Canton neighborhood when the American Jazz Cruise Ship was finally freed after being stuck on a sandbar in Lake Barkley.

Cindy Hernandez and her husband have been watching and waiting everyday, trying to get a glimpse of any change in the water.

“We’ve been watching it for a number of hours and gaging it on the landscape behind it, I don’t see it moving,” said Hernandez.

Friday started like many other days. Hernandez and her husband went to a nearby neighborhoods backyard to watch the American Jazz. It has become a welcomed tradition.

Last week, within days of the ship getting stuck, the U.S. Coast Guard worked to push the ship using tugboats. In a video sent to News 2 by one of the tug boat operators, you can hear the traction between the tugboats and the ship, as the boats worked to loosen the huge riverboat. The attempt was unsuccessful.

It wouldn’t be until Friday where crews used a new plan. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, a third party company was brought in to pump the remaining fuel out of the ship in an effort to make the ship lighter. Friday, crews were on the water attaching cables in order to lift the vessel off of the sandbar.

“The guys were connecting the cables to the boat and we were fearful of them breaking again, because that happened last week when they were trying to move the ship and it’s scary,” said Hernandez.

Crew members remained on board as officials patrolled the water, urging boaters to not travel within 100 yards of the vessel.

The American Jazz was successfully refloated and was immediately able to get underway on its own power, according to a press release from American Cruise Lines, the company that owns and operates the ship. After the riverboat was freed, the U.S. Coast Guard inspected the ship before it continued on to Nashville. American Cruise Lines officials told News 2 the next cruise is scheduled to depart July 25.

In a statement from American Cruise Lines, the company says they “would like to sincerely thank everyone on the ground in Kentucky for their tireless and continued efforts to refloat American Jazz. The modern riverboat became stuck on a sandbar in Lake Barley last week, during one of American’s 8-day Music Cities cruises between Memphis and Nashville.

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