After what could perhaps be the slowest hit and run accident in recorded history, Banbury’s Tooleys Boatyard discovered the recently rescued Hardy sunk.
The 70-foot-long, 78-year-old wooden barge was hit by an unknown vessel between 11am and 2pm on Sunday, August 12.
Proprietor Matt Armitage said: “The boat has been very stable and we have had it under control but it is a fragile boat.
“It went down very quickly. We know it went down very quickly as there were local boaters around at the time. We heard second hand that someone had hit it.
“We started to pump the water out but the problem was the water was coming in as fast as it came out. Potentially there’s a big hole in it somewhere.”
The boat was just weeks away from moving into the dry dock for extensive restoration using hundred year old techniques.
The Tooleys crew successfully raised the boat, fixed the leaks and towed it back from Braunston in June where it had lay submerged for four years.
As pumping did not work the next step is a little more hands on.
Matt said: “What we’re going to have to do is to go in with dry suits on Thursday and take it from there.”
Despite the set back Matt is using the accident as a teachable moment, he said: “What it does do is highlight the fact that if we are going to do this type of work we can’t leave fragile boats in the middle of Banbury. We do have our eye on an additional piece of land.”
No one has came forward to take responsibility and no note was left at the scene.