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River Lot, South West France

Grehan

Active member
Joined
11 Jun 2001
Messages
3,684
Location
Inland France + Oxon.
Not sure if this has made the UK news, but if you folks on the Thames are having some winter problems, spare a thought for us on the River Lot!
VIDEOS. Les impressionnantes images d'une vingtaine de bateaux arrachés à leur ponton et emportés par la crue du Lot
le-boat-fumel-dam-france-3.jpeg
21 Le Boat hire boats rafted up at a place called Douelle (near Cahors) found themselves racing downstream, still attached to their pontoon. Sadly, they've all now crashed or sunk, which is a serious calamity for the company, for the river and for those who have to clear up in the aftermath. This is an exceptional year for winter conditions, because of the hurricane effect, but not historically so. Most of the year this beautiful river is very calm and peaceful, but it's very long with a big catchment in the Massif Centrale and when it rains a lot up there the river fills dramatically and powerfully.
I'm writing this looking over the river some way downstream from Douelle. It's running like an express train, full of tree trunks and other detritus rushing along. Visible remains of the the hire boats almost got here, but if there was anything left it probably went through during the night.
 
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Grehan

Active member
Joined
11 Jun 2001
Messages
3,684
Location
Inland France + Oxon.
Another video
Many thanks Bran, hadn't seen that video sequence. I know both those barrages quite well - Fumel and St Vite are close to one another, about 50km upstream from us. They're in the process of rebuilding the lock at St Vite and opening up that short section. Interesting to see how the boats coped with 'shooting the rapids'. Unfortunately, the barrage/lock at Villeneuve further downstream is a very big one (10m rise in normal circumstances) and I don't think any of the boats could have survived falling down that. We haven't seen any recognisable boat bits, not that we've been keeping a watch, but we have seen a number of pontoon float blocks and one sad little blue and white dinghy heading past.
 

Mark26

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17 Nov 2017
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137
Location
Penton Hook
In the original video it would appear there were no piles for the pontoon?
Or did the pontoon rise over the top of the piles?
 

Outinthedinghy

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18 May 2008
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1,000
Location
Limehouse hole
Usually they have piles, one wonders who it is who decides the length of these...

Looks like the pontoon lifted off the top. Piles too short / water level unexpectedly high.

Maybe an argument for anchoring the pontoon with ropes as well but a its a bit late for that now !

ETA other explanation could be that the sliding mechanism failed and the buoyancy of the boats and the pontoon lifted the piles out of the River bed.

I'd go for lifting off the top. I wonder if they do an investigation and publish it. That would be an interesting read.
 

DownWest

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Joined
25 Dec 2007
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9,269
Location
S.W. France
In the big storm Cynthia, the pontoons at La Rochelle lifted over the piles and got hooked up. Even a boat or too impaled on them.
Around here, lots of flooded fields and I have not seen the Charente so high. Meteo this morning had the Lot et Garonne under vigilance rouge, the highest risk. As in, stay ar home, unless essential.
 

Grehan

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Joined
11 Jun 2001
Messages
3,684
Location
Inland France + Oxon.
There is currently a great deal of speculation about causes, as one might expect. The pontoon was apparently renewed fairly recently and it and its piles ought to have been ok. However, 21 boats is a hell of a lot, the river has risen exceptionally (but not beyond the bounds of historic possibility), the current has been incredibly fierce, the piles might have been bent over . . . and I've heard that the base manager was on furlough so no-one 'on the spot'.
All allegedly, possibly nonsense.
The insurance companies will be smarting, but no-one injured that I've heard about.
 
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