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Home » The Human Element » Bad weather dislodges boat trapped on rocks above Niagara Falls for 101 years

Bad weather dislodges boat trapped on rocks above Niagara Falls for 101 years

PortandTerminal.com, November 3, 2019

Strong winds and rains during recent storms have moved the historic iron scow at the top of Canada’s Horseshoe Falls, which had been stuck in the same place for more than 100 years — and now, it’s closer to the edge

NIAGRA, CANADA – A boat stuck on rocks above Niagara Falls for more than a century has been unmoored by high wind and heavy rains.

Thursday’s harsh weather pushed the vessel away from its rocky perch and closer to the falls on the Canadian side, according to the Niagara Parks Commission.

It’s the first time it’s moved any appreciable distance for more than a century, according to CBC. In a video produced by Niagara Parks Commission on Friday, an official, Jim Hill, said the barge, while not currently moving, appears to have “flipped on its side and spun around.”

What was it doing there in the first place?

The Niagara Scow

The Niagara Scow (also called “The Old Scow”) is the unofficial name of the wreck of a small scow that brought two men perilously close to plunging over the Horseshoe Falls, the largest of the Niagara Falls.

On August 6, 1918, a dumping scow broke loose from its towing tug about 1 mile upriver with two men aboard.

When tugboat captain John Wallace brought the Hassayampa over to bring the scow back to shore however, it broke loose and began floating downriver rapidly towards the falls.

The Hassayampa tugboat (1910)

To stop the boat, the men opened its bottom dumping doors, which grounded it on some rocks around 600 metres from the edge. 

Since a rescue boat was out of the question, the Niagara Falls (Ontario) Fire Department tried using a grappling gun to shoot a lifeline out towards the barge, from atop the roof of the Toronto Power House while awaiting the arrival of the US Coast Guard from Youngstown, New York to bring a heavier grappling gun.

When the US Coast Guard did arrive, they managed to send a lifeline over to the barge, and both marooned men made it safely back to shore via breeches buoy, 17 hours after they first found themselves drifting towards the falls. 

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