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.
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."