Boat stuck in Niagara Falls for more than a century dislodged during storm

A barge stranded for more than a century in Niagara Falls was dislodged during a recent storm, officials said.

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The rusted hull of a dumping scow that was stuck along the Niagara River since Aug. 6, 1918, moved a considerable distance downstream Thursday, closer to the edge of Horseshoe Falls, according to Niagara Parks officials.


"It could have been the way the wind came down the river," Niagara Park CEO David Adames told the CBC. "If it came down at a high enough gust, at that point in time, it might have hit the side of the rusted structure and it was enough to move it."

The remains are not in danger of going over the falls, but officials are keeping a watchful eye on the wreckage. Park staff is photographing the changes, as well as monitoring it constantly through surveillance cameras.

"It looks secure at the moment; however, if there's severe weather that comes along, it may shift it some more," Adames told the CBC.

Known as the Iron Scow or the Niagara Scow, it was accidentally cut adrift from a tugboat in 1918 during work to dredge the river.

The two men aboard, Gustav Lofberg and James Harris, had the presence of mind to open the dumping doors, which filled the bottom of the vessel and slowed it as it approached Horseshoe Falls.

A rescue mission included shooting grappling lines from a cannon to the vessel from the top of a nearby power station.

"They had to figure out how to get these guys off of this, and no one was going out there in a boat of any kind," Jim Hill, senior manager of heritage with the Niagara Parks Commission, told WGRZ. "So they got on top of the power plant. They fired the rescue line over there and then they rigged up the rescue line. The problem is the lines got tangled."

William “Red” Hill, a World War I hero who had recently returned after being wounded, volunteered to untangle the lines. Hill successfully untangled the lines. After 17 hours the men were safely ashore.

A plan to recover the ship was never considered feasible, so it remained in place in the river, slowly deteriorating over time. Even with its latest movement, no plans are in place to retrieve it.

"(The ship could remain in place) for days or for years," Hill told CNN. "It's anyone's guess."

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