One hundred years ago on August 6, 1918, a steel copper bottomed sand scow (barge), with two deck hands aboard became grounded on a rock sandbar approximately in the Niagara River about 600 metres (a half-mile) upriver from the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. It’s still here after all these years.
Here’s the short version of the story.
The scow, with two deck hands aboard, was being towed by a tug boat that was engaged in dredging operation several miles up river in the fast current on the American side of the Niagara River. A sand-sucker was being used to take sand from the bottom of the river and deposit it into the scow.
All of a sudden, the towline that held the scow to the tug snapped and the scow was sent adrift down the Niagara River towards the falls. On board were two men and approximately 2,000 tonnes of sand and rock.
Miraculously the scow grounded itself on the rocky shoal where it remains to this day.
An alarm went out and the two men were eventually rescued when a breeches buoy (a chair like attachment) was fired from the roof of the nearby Toronto Power Plant to the scow. After several attempts, both men were rescued with the assistance of famed Niagara Riverman, Red Hill Sr. who risked his life to untangle the line that carried the breeches buoy. At 6 a.m. on Wednesday, August 7th, Hill went out o the line handover hand as his body was tugged by the current of the rapids until he was able to untangle the rope to allow the rescue of the two men.
Last night, August 6th there was a ceremony at the edge of the Niagara River overlooking the scow to commemorating the centenary of the scow and payed tribute to Red Hill Sr.
Here are a few photographs I took at the largely attended ceremony.