Yesterday we took a friend and two of her children out for a boat trip. We decided to go to near Nell Bridge, turn and have a barbeque and then return in the early evening.
After filling with Diesel and changing a gas bottle at Sovereign Wharf we set of with excited children for a fun day's boating. We had a lovely day. All was fine with the weather and a slight breeze kept us feeling cool. However, it must have been hotter than we thought because at King's Sutton lock, I came over woozy and ended up sitting on the bank holding the centre rope and calling for the First Mate to return to assist. Three glasses of water later all was well again.
We turned at Nell Bridge but had to hold back as a BW employee's boat was moved from a mooring next to their yard to a mooring on the towpath. This had to be readjusted to give enough room to turn at the winding hole. We moored on the rings about 200 yards from the Lift Bridge and set up the temporary barbeque on top of the BW Contractor's hopper that is moored here collecting rubbish that boaters cannot be bothered to dispose of in the correct place provided.
After a wonderful feast and letting the children go fishing for half an hour or so, we started back.
All was well until we got to bridge170, a farm lift bridge that is usually left up. Today it was definitely down. There was little room between the last moored boat and the bridge so I pulled along side this boat and the First Mate stepped across to get to the bank to raise the bridge. She slipped trying to locate the steps inside the front well deck, twisted and fell heavily backward. She couldn't move. We made her comfortable and I prayed for her. Jarvis and Jo from the live-aboard "nb Lotus" appeared to offer to call an ambulance.
Jarvis and Jo were brilliant. They operated the lift bridge for another boat, then we moved through and Jarvis moored us up next to them and took care of our children while we waited for the ambulance. Jarvis ran up the field and back again (about a third of a mile) to make sure the ambulance knew where to come. The paramedics were great too, getting her on to a board and into the ambulance for the trip to Banbury's Horton Hospital.
I gathered the children, got everyone back on board and navigated in a worried frame of mind back to Banbury where I left the boat on the first available town centre mooring and retrieved the car to get to the hospital. The children were taken by our friend back to her home where they watched a tv football match, ate pizza and then had an impromptu sleepover.
The Hospital doctors and nurses were great, checked , x-rayed and double checked then killed the pain and at Midnight discharged her to return home. Nothing broken, no nerve problems. Just Pain and bruising to get over and heal in due time.
The accident 'spoiled' a lovely day. It all happened so quickly. We cross boats so regularly it almost comes as something natural and we know the layout of the well deck on this type of boat quite well as friends live on one. But it only takes a moment to slip.........
Take care everybody.
The incident has been reported to British Waterways via their on line incident reporting form
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