THREE people on board a narrowboat called Ark had a narrow escape when strong river currents pushed their vessel perilously close to a drop over the edge of Marcliffe Weir, near Bidford-on-Avon on Saturday.
The lunchtime drama unfolded when it’s thought the narrowboat failed to navigate its way through its intended destination of Marcliffe lock and was forced buy river currents towards the edge of the weir. To make matters worse the boat then didn’t have enough power to get out of trouble and steer to safety.
Fortunately, a barrier positioned across the width of the river and just metres before the weir’s drop, held the narrowboat in place allowing enough time for emergency service teams to be alerted and race to the scene.
In total three fire service appliances and a fire service river boat from Evesham attended after the alarm was raised at 1.20pm.
An 83-year-old Marcliffe resident told Midweek Herald: “We saw the fire engines arrive and being a bit nosey-like we went out to see what was going on. The force of the current had pushed the narrowboat downstream in the direction of the weir and jammed it - broadside - against the barrier. It stayed there for quite a while but luckily the barrier held firm. These things are quite common on this part of the river and usually happen when a boat fails to navigate the nearby lock.”
After an hour-long rescue operation, which saw the fire service motor boat crew support colleagues on the river bank, as they manoeuvred the narrowboat clear of the barrier, the occupants then steered the vessel to a safe location. No one was injured during the incident.
Marcliffe Weir is popular with narrowboat owners and anglers alike but can experience strong under currents at this time of year.
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