Niagara Parks staff monitoring barge dislodged in storm as it edges closer to falls
Niagara Parks staff is monitoring a barge dislodged by a fierce Halloween storm and edging closer to the falls.
The boat, known as the iron scow, broke loose from its tug boat and became grounded on rocks about 600 metres from the famous Horseshoe Falls more than 101 years ago and remained there until last week.
A violent Halloween storm shifted the scow downriver about 50 metres for the first time in over a century.
“The scow has been in place since August 6, 1918,” David Adames, chief executive of Niagara Parks, told CTV News Channel Monday.
“It’s part of Niagara Falls history and it has certainly generated a lot of interest since the scow moved last Thursday night.
“We think it’s going to rest in place for a long time and we’re going to continue to monitor and should it shift some more we’ll get word out.”
In a Niagara Parks Commission video released Friday, commission heritage manager Jim Hill said the barge appears to have "flipped on its side and spun around."
“It’s turned and twisted in the very heavy current and flow of the river and is stuck where it is now,” Hill explained.
“And it could be stuck there for days or it could be stuck there for years.”
For many years Canadians had a great view of the scow, used for dredging and dumping, which broke loose with two men onboard about 1.6 km up river from the falls.
With the boat sailing closer to the brink the men, Gustav F. Lofberg, 51, and James H. Harris, 53, had the good sense to open the dumping doors, flooding the compartments and slowing its approach.
It eventually hit rocks, stopping about half a kilometre from the edge and stranding the pair.
A dramatic rescue involving lifelines launched from the adjacent powerhouse saw the two men safely brought ashore the next day.
“It’s (the scow) been deteriorating badly,” Hill added.
“And we have aerial footage from last year when we wanted to mark the centennial of the rescue…and it really shows there wasn’t much of the scow left.”
--- With files from The Associated Press and CNN