A stag do’s drunken antics saw an elderly and vulnerable man’s home end up on the bottom of a canal when they lost control of a rented barge.
George Kanda has been left homeless after the group of yobs lost control of their vessel and smashed into his houseboat in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire.
Despite a huge rescue operation launched by other boat owners the vessel couldn’t be saved and sank to the bottom of the Kennet and Avon Canal.
More than 330 people have now donated up to £6,000 to support Mr Kanda after an online crowdfunding page was set up.
Despite a huge rescue operation launched by other boat owners the vessel couldn’t be saved and sank to the bottom of the Kennet and Avon Canal
Dru Marland, who helped with the rescue effort, described how two hireboats came at speed around a bend.
She said: ‘They lost control and went into the offside bank; careered off with the use of poles and collided with Deb’s boat, just up from mine.
‘George, whose boat is just around the corner they’d come round, was following them.
‘Their wake had thrown his boat around particularly badly and they were shouting abuse at him.
Eyewitnesses said the drunken stag group lost control of their vessel and smashed into Mr Kanda’s houseboat (pictured)
The community have now donated up to £6,000 to help Mr Kanda, who has been left homeless. Pictured: The scene of the crash
‘They were drunk, and obviously enjoying the fun.’
Ms Marland continued: ‘The next morning also revealed that George’s boat had been sufficiently damaged by the thumping it had received, to sink overnight.
‘He’d been woken at 4:30am to find the cabin awash. By daylight, it was sitting firmly on the bottom of the canal.
‘The boaters swung into action, bringing the community emergency pump down from Bradford wharf, collecting dry clothes and useful stuff, brewing coffee, making bacon butties.
‘The day was spent shoring up and pumping, in rain that varied from light to heavy, but always persistent.
A member of the community attempts to pump water out of Mr Kanda’s houseboat
‘And by dusk, we’d got absolutely nowhere.’
Ms Marland told Bath Live that the boat proved impossible to raise.
She said: ‘George is determined to keep on trying. All I know is the damn thing is not going up.
‘Of course, it’s his home. He’s been on the boat for quite some number of years. He’s very elderly.’
His friend Laura Darling, said: ‘George is a vulnerable man.
‘Due to some verbally aggressive youngsters who were speeding on hire boats this weekend, his boat is now sinking.
‘This is his home and if the community can’t manage to re-float it he will be homeless.
‘If people do manage to re-float his boat it will need some cash injected to make it habitable again for him.’
A man who wished to remain anonymous told Bath Live that the incident was ‘another case of mindless yobbish behaviour on the canal by drunken stag parties in a hire boat.’
He added: ‘Apart from just being downright unpleasant and swearing at anyone who challenged them, they also managed to sink a boat at Bradford-on-Avon, leaving an elderly vulnerable boater homeless and losing all his possesions.’
‘This is not an isolated case.
‘Similar occurrences happen most weekends but the hire companies and Canal and River Trust seem unwilling or unable to come up with a solution.’
Alice Young, a Gypsy, traveller and boater coordinator for the Bath homeless charity Julian House, said: ‘This is the last straw really for the boating community.
‘Every single weekend we have hire boats that come out and I would suggest that most of them are well behaved, really respectful and they’re a pleasure to have.
‘The challenge that we have got is the increase in popularity of stag boats: this unfortunate situation where it’s lads on holiday for 48 or 72 hours with a large amount of alcohol involved and a lack of respect for their surroundings.
‘When you’ve got that week in week out throughout the summer period it has a real negative impact on the lives of the people living in the community.’