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River Avon boats refloated after sluice gate fault

image captionSome of the boats affected by the sluice gate fault have been refloated

Five boats on a river in Bath have been refloated after being submerged last week when water levels dropped.

About 50 boats were affected when water was accidently drained after a sluice gate "suddenly opened" on the River Avon last Tuesday.

Houseboat owner Avril McGovern said the Environment Agency (EA) were "giving us everything we need".

The EA said an engineer would remain "permanently on site until we know the cause of the failure".

Water levels dropped by about 1.8m (5.9ft) after the fault at Twerton sluice gate and boat owners were alerted by a post on the Canal and River Trust's website.

image captionAvril McGovern said it was "frustrating" as she works as a teacher and will need to take time off work

Ms McGovern was out for dinner with friends when she received messages about the river levels changing last Tuesday.

She thought her boat would be safe as it was behind the lock but when she arrived, it was "resting on the bottom".

She said: "The Environment Agency are going to provide a hull survey on the boats affected to look at the integrity of the hulls.

"They are bringing a crane in to lift us out, although they said they will need to remove some trees to do that which I'm not happy about."

image captionA section of the river near Bath was accidently drained on Tuesday last week after a faulty sluice gate suddenly opened

Ian Withers, from the EA, said they needed to "find a piece of land to accommodate a crane to lift the boats out" for a hull inspection, and hoped to "get that rolling by Thursday".

He said: "In the meantime we have people who we will continue to look after at local hotels.

"We understand that some people have lost everything and recognise the trauma and anxiety felt as a result of this incident, and want to help people get their lives back on track."

He said the EA would help those with a "reasonable and legitimate claim to compensation".

image captionBoats being refloated on the River Avon

Related Topics

  • Bath
  • Environment Agency

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