Boater causes Henley chaos

Published: Monday, 13 September 2010

A BOATER hit Henley Bridge on the Thames with his large cruiser  Crazy Love causing complete chaos in the town on a Saturday afternoon.

Such was the impact that masonry was dislodged from the structure which caused the major road over the river to be closed for four hours causing complete gridlock on all the major roads. Alan Tilbury reports.

Completely missed

Dennis Harding completely missed the arch of  the bridge, striking it with his large cruiser resulting in the damage, with one of his passengers, Peter Berwick being struck on the head by the falling masonry. He was airlifted to hospital to have stitches.

The damage was caused at the steerer's second attempt to get through the bridge, dislodging seven fascia stones.

Not in control

An observer told how the steerer did not seem to be in control of his boat as it was obvious to him by the way he was approaching he would not get through, then heard the 'massive bang' at his second attempt.

The steerer related that he was only doing one mile an hour, and blames 'a current surge that seemed to push the vessel sideways',  remarking  that the  radar mast struck the bridge.

Engineers were called in to inspect the bridge, and they wanted specialist fire officers to make the bridge safe by dislodging the remainder of the loose stones.

The cruiser is now for sale.