An 80-foot long iron-hulled boat which has been rusting above Niagara Falls for 101 years is now at greater risk of going over the enormous waterfall, after a storm on Halloween dislodged the wreck and brought it closer to the edge.
The boat is a scow – a type of flat-bottomed sailing vessel which were commonly used for navigating shallow waters – and in 1918 was being used to dredge sand banks higher up the Niagara River when a rope connecting it to a tugboat snapped.
It drifted downstream towards Horseshoe Falls – the highest waterfall of Niagara Falls – with two workers still aboard. Just 838 yards from the falls, the boat became grounded on rocks, and a 17-hour rescue mission was launched to rescue the two men from the raging water.
It had been disintegrating on the same spot ever since, and became known as the Niagara Scow.
But the storms on 31 October dislodged it from the rocks it had been resting on for over a century, and the scow is now 150 yards closer to the edge of the waterfall.
Horseshoe falls is 167 feet (51 metres) high, and forms part of the border between the US and Canada.
Jim Hill, superintendent of heritage at the Niagara Parks Commission, said in a video on Facebook: “For many years the Canadians had a great view of the scow. It’s been deteriorating badly and we have aerial footage from last year when we wanted to mark the centennial of the rescue that took place on August 7 1918.
“It appears to have sort of flipped on its side and spun around. We think it’s about 50 metres downriver from its original location.
“What we think has happened now is it’s turned and twisted in the very heavy current and flow of the river, and it’s stuck where it is now.”
He added: “It could be stuck there for days, or it could be stuck there for years. It’s anyone’s guess.”
Authorities are now aiming to determine exactly how far the boat has moved downstream, and will closely monitor it for any further movements.