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Tugboat sinks, captain missing on Mississippi River

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — First responders are launching search and rescue boats after a tugboat sank on the Mississippi River.

The Coast Guard said they were notified of the boat sinking at around 11:45 a.m. They are still actively searching for the two people who were on board, including the captain.

The incident happened at around mile mark 733, about three miles south of Mud Island.

The specifics on what happened to the boat remain unclear.

The craft is owned by Wepfer Marine on Presidents Island.

Two Tennessee fish and Wildlife boats, one Coast Guard rescue boat and one Sheriff’s Office boat are out now and more are coming. 

A rescue operation was underway here after a tugboat sank in the Mississippi River.

Family members tell us Keith Pigram and his step-son Anquavious Newson were on that boat when it sank early this afternoon.

Search and rescue crews scoured the water all day but was suspended when nightfell, until daylight breaks tomorrow.

Which will make it a very long night for loved ones waiting for news.

Lakeisha Agnew says she's the mother of two of keith pigram's children.

"They said around 10:30, he made a distress call that the boat was sinking," Agnew said over the phone.

She says Pigrams wife called her to say he and his stepson were lost in the mississippi.

"Our daughter's birthday was on Wednesday, Dec. 6th, and today is her slumber party. And me and him were texting around 10 something about her cake and things for the party, um, after that I didn't hear from him. "

Now family members are forced to wait out the night until search crews resume their mission tomorrow.

"He's only 35, so he has a full life ahead of him, kids that he wants to see grow up, daughters he wants to see walk down the aisle, so it's a really hard time right now," Agnew said.

There's no word tonight on why the stepson was on the boat or what caused it to sink but his family says they haven't yet given up hope.