Thursday, 13 December 2012

10 mins and then she was on the bottom.

From the rooftops of the buildings opposite the river, builders spotted a narrow boat whose stern appeared to be sinking, but by the time they got down and raised the alarm the vessel had already sunk to the gunnels. L R Harris at Syston quickly notified the owner and obtained a pump, in order to try and rescue the boat. 
When the owner returned unfortunately it was already too late to rescue his beloved parrots, and although he waded waist deep in freezing water it was obvious that the cages were well below the water. As a live abound the owner had taken great care of the boat and only recently had a hull survey completed. Everyone was at a loss to explain the cause of the sinking, other than the heavy and persistent rain fall over the past few days.  
LR Harris battled all day to try to raise the boat but to no avail and as light faded they called RCR to see if their rescue team were available.  With the light gone the team were prepped to attend the following day and armed with 4 pumps hoped to get her refloated.
RCR’s team immediately set to with the pumps, but after several hours were still not making the headway they had expected. More water was appearing than disappearing! Searching the vessel they found a number of vents, and the owner notified them of a couple more on the outside of his boat. By blocking these they started to gain momentum but still water was pouring and the source could not be located.
Working in freezing temperatures and waist deep in water for hours, and with work not progressing as it should the team called a halt. When they did it took only 28secs for her to sink back to her previous position. The following day, having discussed possibilities and options, they returned to site to try again. This time they removed sodden items from the boat to reduce weight, blocked holes and vents, and used a winch to assist in lifting the stern. With the help of local boaters and all pumps working at full capacity within a few hours the boat finally came up.
Unfortunately she was still taking on a large amount of water and at risk of sinking again, so the team took the option of grounding her in LR Harris pound. This where the rest of the heavy items could be removed so that she can be hoisted out of the water and a full investigation as to the cause undertaken.
LR Harris staff and the local boaters supplied ample warm drinks and helped keep everyone’s spirits high despite the circumstances, and with a strong community spirit are committed to helping the owner get back on his feet.