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Lifeboat called to Battersea after barge collides with bridge

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A gravel barge named James Prior was severely damaged after it collided with Battersea Bridge. 

The incident, which happened last Tuesday 20th September at 5.30pm, left the barge with its wheelhouse totally demolished by the impact and the bridge and all steering, engine controls and radio communication disabled.

Chiswick and Tower lifeboats were called to the scene by the London Coastguard. The lifeboat put a crewman on board the stricken vessel to provide communication links with the emergency services and a rescue tug.

After careful manoeuvring the barge was pulled clear of the bridge. Despite the severe damage to the vessel there were no casualties. The cause of the incident is not clear but it is likely that it will be investigated by the Port of London Authority who are responsible for controlling navigation on the tidal Thames.

Battersea Bridge has been closed after it sustained serious damage in the incident.  A Transport for London spokesperson said  "Battersea Bridge is likely to remain closed for several weeks. There will be further investigations held immediately to ascertain the full extent of the damage.

"During this time the following roads will be closed: Battersea Bridge Road northbound with the junction of Prince of Wales Drive and Beaufort Street southbound with the junction of King's Road. Travellers are asked, where possible, to avoid Chelsea Embankment westbound while local diversions are in place or to allow extra time for journeys which involve travelling to or through this area."

The following bus routes will also be diverted whilst the bridge is closed 49, 239, 319, 345 and night bus N31. The bridge is currently open to pedestrian traffic only.

September 22, 2005