Rescuers helped 49 barges on a canal in the South of England in 18 hours.

Rescuers helped 49 barges on a canal in the South of England in 18 hours.

All the boats were upside down, sunk or just ran aground because the airlock broke down.

The gate of one of the many airlocks on the Kennt-Avon Canal in Somerset, England, was a real disaster for tourists and locals traveling by water in the Bath area.

At about 6 p.m. on September 15, the water level in the 4 km long canal began to decrease sharply. After an hour, it dropped by 1.8 meters. When the water disappeared, the three boats, whose moorings had been stretched before, fell on board and collected water. Another six were at risk of being submerged.

The others were seated tightly on the bottom of the silt. The occupants of these boats were locked on them, as it was impossible to walk through the soft mud and not get stuck in it.

A total of 49 boats were damaged one way or another. Among the owners who lost the boats were those for whom their boat was home.

A dedicated River Canal Rescue team, which has been working on English canals for the past 15 years, has volunteered to help. Despite their extensive experience, the rescuers cannot recall a large-scale operation that would have taken only 18 hours. River Canal Rescue helps 60 boats in a month during severe flooding, but the current situation was not related to them.

Unfortunately, the planning took more than 24 hours and as a result, work on the channel only began in the morning of September 18th. All team members without exception were required to participate.

The operation continued on September 28th. The boats started to be lifted from the water to assess the damage.

Already at the first stage of the work it became clear that at least four boats would need to be overhauled.

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