JCB digger rescued from Chichester Canal

The JCB in the canal. Picture courtesy of Chichester Canal
The JCB in the canal. Picture courtesy of 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."

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