JCB digger rescued from Chichester Canal

Boat trips along the Chichester Canal were interrupted yesterday when the pontoon holding a three-tonne digger sank, blocking canal boats from passing.

Wednesday, 19th September 2018, 2:41 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th September 2018, 10:52 pm
The JCB in the canal. Picture courtesy of Chichester Canal

A spokesman for Chichester Canal said that a company of divers were called in to dive into the canal and block air into the deflated pontoon below.

Malcolm Maddison, chairman of the canal trading company said: "We were going to the place of work and it suddenly tilted to one side and we realised there was a leak.

"There must have been a tank that took on water."

The three-tonne digger, which is used to clear mud and other debris out of the canal, fell off the deflated pontoon and blocked the canal for a total of six days.

Five divers checked for a cause of the incident on Friday 14.

Malcolm said: "The digger is still working thankfully. We got it towed back to it's normal base."

"On Saturday we had two divers and we attached it to a barge and used it as a platform."

Engineer Peter Burlock said: "We were unable to get boats past it when it first sank. We had no idea what happened."

In a tweet, Cichester Canal said: "It's certainly been a busy few days on the canal ending with the successful recovery of our digger after the flotation tanks were damaged! A fantastic effort by our team of volunteers with a bit of help from a few divers."

Another read: "Our boat trips will be running again from tomorrow (Monday September 17) following clearance of our digger and platform from the canal.

"Well done to all involved in what was a rather difficult operation! Apologies to our passengers for the unavoidable cancellations."