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Boats stranded on canal bed after water is accidentally drained

A row of boats were left stranded on a canal bed after the water was mistakenly drained.

Bizarre pictures show a number of canal boats stuck in mud or tipped partially onto their sides after a mechanical fault with the sluice gates at Kennet and Avon Canal in Twerton, Bath on Tuesday evening.

Crews from Avon Fire and Rescue attended the scene with their specialist water rescue unit after water levels dropped by two metres in an hour-and-a-half just before 7pm.

No rescues were necessary, but The Canal and River Trust said ‘massive distress’ had been inflicted on local boaters.

Avril McGovern, who lives on a boat in the area, said the incident had a ‘devastating impact’ on her friends, with some forced to find alternative accommodation.

In a bizarre sluice gate failure canal boats sit high and dry on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Bath this morning, Wednesday 16 September 2020, as water was mistakenly drained due to a mechanical failure at the Twerton Radial Gate. See SWNS story SWBRcanal; In a statement, a spokesperson for the Canal & River Trust said: ???The Canal & River Trust, and emergency services were on site to help as soon as we were made aware of the situation, [and] we closed the waterway between locks 6 and 7 and, at 7pm (Tue).??? A message on the Canal & River Trust website reads: ???Please be advised that due to mechanical failure of the Environment Agency sluice gates at Twerton the water levels between lock 6, Weston Lock and Lock 7, Bath Bottom Lock are currently dropping rapidly. ???The Environment Agency have been informed and their engineers are on [the] way to [the] site however we are advising customers not to navigate. The emergency services are in attendance.
One boat was left majorly damaged (Picture: Paul Gillis / SWNS)
Boater named Mark aboard the Abgry Ferret enjoying a cup of tea in the morning light. In a bizarre sluice gate failure canal boats sit high and dry on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Bath this morning, Wednesday 16 September 2020, as water was mistakenly drained due to a mechanical failure at the Twerton Radial Gate. See SWNS story SWBRcanal; In a statement, a spokesperson for the Canal & River Trust said: ???The Canal & River Trust, and emergency services were on site to help as soon as we were made aware of the situation, [and] we closed the waterway between locks 6 and 7 and, at 7pm (Tue).??? A message on the Canal & River Trust website reads: ???Please be advised that due to mechanical failure of the Environment Agency sluice gates at Twerton the water levels between lock 6, Weston Lock and Lock 7, Bath Bottom Lock are currently dropping rapidly. ???The Environment Agency have been informed and their engineers are on [the] way to [the] site however we are advising customers not to navigate. The emergency services are in attendance.
A boater named Mark enjoys a cup of tea aboard the Abgry Ferret (Picture: Paul Gillis / SWNS)
In a bizarre sluice gate failure canal boats sit high and dry on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Bath this morning, Wednesday 16 September 2020, as water was mistakenly drained due to a mechanical failure at the Twerton Radial Gate. See SWNS story SWBRcanal; In a statement, a spokesperson for the Canal & River Trust said: ???The Canal & River Trust, and emergency services were on site to help as soon as we were made aware of the situation, [and] we closed the waterway between locks 6 and 7 and, at 7pm (Tue).??? A message on the Canal & River Trust website reads: ???Please be advised that due to mechanical failure of the Environment Agency sluice gates at Twerton the water levels between lock 6, Weston Lock and Lock 7, Bath Bottom Lock are currently dropping rapidly. ???The Environment Agency have been informed and their engineers are on [the] way to [the] site however we are advising customers not to navigate. The emergency services are in attendance.
The incident left some boaters looking for alternative accommodation (Picture: Paul Gillis / SWNS)

The local, who was out at dinner when she started received messages about the river levels changing, said: ‘I thought I’m quite safe because I’m behind the lock but then there were more posts on the Facebook group that I’m in saying that it was draining, so I raced back to see my boat resting on the bottom.

‘Some other boats had sunk and a couple of friends had to find alternative accommodation, so obviously that is going to have quite a devastating impact on them.’

An Environment spokesman has apologised for any ‘disruption and anxiety’ caused.

He added that they were working with the Fire & Rescue service, the Canal and River Trust and other partners to ‘manage the restoration of the river levels in the most effective way’.

It comes after a boater accidentally drained Kennet and Avon Canal when they didn’t close the lock properly in 2018.

A spokeswoman from the Canal and River Trust said today: ‘At 6.45pm on 15 September the Canal & River Trust were told of a drop in water level on the River Avon caused by a failure of the Environment Agency’s sluice gates at Twerton.

The crew manning a barge that sunk on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Bath were all left in shock, a hire boat company has said. See SWNS story SWBRbarge. Steve Langley, operations manager of Sally Narrowboats, received a call about one of its hire boats getting damaged at Lock 12 by Pulteney Gardens at around 7pm on Tuesday (September 1). Mr Langley said he was at the scene within 20 minutes and the emergency services were looking after the crew members after the accident. The Canal and River Trust, who govern these waters, said the canal is open once again after the boat was refloated on Thursday morning (September 3).
The crew manning a barge that sunk on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Bath were all left in shock, a hire boat company has said (Picture: Paul Gillis / SWNS)
In a bizarre sluice gate failure canal boats sit high and dry on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Bath this morning, Wednesday 16 September 2020, as water was mistakenly drained due to a mechanical failure at the Twerton Radial Gate. See SWNS story SWBRcanal; In a statement, a spokesperson for the Canal & River Trust said: ???The Canal & River Trust, and emergency services were on site to help as soon as we were made aware of the situation, [and] we closed the waterway between locks 6 and 7 and, at 7pm (Tue).??? A message on the Canal & River Trust website reads: ???Please be advised that due to mechanical failure of the Environment Agency sluice gates at Twerton the water levels between lock 6, Weston Lock and Lock 7, Bath Bottom Lock are currently dropping rapidly. ???The Environment Agency have been informed and their engineers are on [the] way to [the] site however we are advising customers not to navigate. The emergency services are in attendance.
Boats sit high and dry on the Kennet and Avon Canal (Picture: Paul Gillis / SWNS)
A Canal and River trust employee looks into the peoblem. In a bizarre sluice gate failure canal boats sit high and dry on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Bath this morning, Wednesday 16 September 2020, as water was mistakenly drained due to a mechanical failure at the Twerton Radial Gate. See SWNS story SWBRcanal; In a statement, a spokesperson for the Canal & River Trust said: ???The Canal & River Trust, and emergency services were on site to help as soon as we were made aware of the situation, [and] we closed the waterway between locks 6 and 7 and, at 7pm (Tue).??? A message on the Canal & River Trust website reads: ???Please be advised that due to mechanical failure of the Environment Agency sluice gates at Twerton the water levels between lock 6, Weston Lock and Lock 7, Bath Bottom Lock are currently dropping rapidly. ???The Environment Agency have been informed and their engineers are on [the] way to [the] site however we are advising customers not to navigate. The emergency services are in attendance.
A Canal and River trust employee looks into the problem (Picture: Paul Gillis / SWNS)

‘The sudden and dramatic drop in levels meant that, unfortunately, it was impossible to give warning to the boaters.

‘However, we immediately attended the site to join the emergency services to provide support to boaters.

‘Prompt action was taken to close the section of the waterway between locks 6 and 7 and a notice issued on the Trust website advising against navigation in the area.

‘We continue to be available on site to help our boating customers who have obviously been caused massive distress.

‘While we understand the difficulties faced by the EA in repairing the sluice this is the second time this has happened, so we are looking to them to find a solution as a matter of urgency.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.



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