Barge carrying scrap cars collapses in Victoria

WATCH: Clean up efforts are underway in Victoria tonight after a barge carrying scrap cars tipped sending its load into the city’s gorge. Police, fire crews and Transport Canada all rushing to the scene to contain the pollution and limit the impact. Julia Foy reports.

Emergency crews were on scene at Victoria’s Gorge Waterway after a barge carrying scrap cars collapsed Friday afternoon.

Witnesses tell Global News they heard a loud noise and saw well over a hundred cars fall into the water when the Seaspan barge started tipping near the 2300-block of Jutland Road at around 3 p.m. this afternoon.

Nobody was injured in the incident, said Bart Reynolds, president of Seaspan Marine, the vessel’s owner.

The company was waiting for the tide to drop Friday evening to lighten the load on the barge, which has a 3,750 metric-ton capacity, Reynolds said.

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“The priority is to unload the barge to a point where the list is no longer a problem and then rectify the problem and find out why it was listing in the first place,” he said.

Jeff St. Thomas was restoring the exterior of a heritage home in a residential neighbourhood just across the Gorge Waterway.

“Well, I heard noise at first because I had my back turned to it, you know, and I could hear the kind of scraping noises, something grinding, and I’m, ‘what the hell is that?” said the carpenter, noting it sounded like low-pitched groaning. “It was the cars, you know, sliding, grinding as they were sliding off, you know metal scraping noise.”

“And I looked, and a couple had already gone in by then, and then I saw another like four or five go in: splash, splash, splash, right.”

Police, fire crews and Transport Canada were quickly on scene, and booms were put out to contain any pollution.

Everyone working on the barge was been accounted for and it does not appear anyone ended up in the water.

There is a lot of garbage in the water as the result of the incident. The city says they will be on scene to provide support for clean up on shore.

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The Selkirk wooden walkway alongside the area of the barge collapse was closed to avoid the risk to the public.

– With files from The Canadian Press

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