PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Authorities say two people are safe after escaping from a tugboat that sank in the Piscataqua River.

The two were able to get onto a barge that is working on the new Memorial Bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine.

Search photos available for purchase: Photo Store →

Steve Achilles, assistant fire chief in Portsmouth, said the tugboat went down between two barges Wednesday afternoon.

The 58-foot tugboat is known as the Benjamin Bailey and is owned by Ken Anderson Riverside & Pickering Marine Contractors in Eliot, Maine. It was contracted by the company in charge of the bridge work.

A video provided to the Portsmouth Herald shows a plume of black smoke coming from the tugboat before it strikes the barge and begins to sink.

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the tugboat’s problems. Salavage efforts began around 3 p.m.