River Canal Rescue was called out on Friday morning (24 February) to recover a burnt-out boat on the Shropshire Union Canal, moored between Penkridge and Wolverhampton.
Fire and ambulance crews, plus Staffordshire Police were first on the scene at 2.43am and once the blaze was extinguished, sadly a male body was discovered and a dead dog was found on the towpath.
RCR was then called and asked to put together an emergency team to recover the wreckage due to it being a crime scene and the need to preserve evidence. On arrival the team assessed the location and vessel situation, but due to the severity of the blaze, pumping out the vessel was not an option.
RCR chief executive officer Trevor Forman, chief rescue co-ordinator, Pete Barnett, senior response team Kerry Horton and Andy Spencer and engineer Rob Turner Instead opted to attempt to use air bags, compressors and lines to try and right the vessel before trying to raise it. Anti-pollution boons were positioned nearby to contain any spills.
Police temporarily halted RCR’s recovery so forensic teams could investigate further and survey the scene for other potential bodies/victims. Once the search and aerial survey was completed, RCR continued the recovery late into Friday afternoon but reports before it can fully re-float and lift out the vessel and its remains from the canal, the excessive weight has to be removed. Due to the ongoing investigation each item has to be removed and stored for forensic investigation, which will take time and patience.
RCR managing director, Stephanie Horton, comments: “This is a very delicate job and we’re working to preserve as much of the boat and its contents as possible so the police and fire brigade can try and piece together what happened. Given the amount of damage to the boat it will take some time to identify what happened, but everything has been taken away for forensic investigation. The boat has been lifted out and transported. Our thoughts at this time are with the relatives of the deceased and anyone associated with the dog.”Article continues below…
Fire and tragedy on the Shropshire Union Canal
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