UPDATE 1/17/13 @ 10 p.m.
ST. ALBANS, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A dock with 30 boat houses and 16 boats broke loose and was swept down the Kanawha River Thursday.
Lou Wendell Marine Sales owns the dock. It floated for several miles past St. Albans.
Three men who do tugboat work for the John Amos Plant were assigned the task of corralling the runaway dock, which they say was on a collision course with barges near the plant.
"It would have torn up probably nine barges and torn the whole fleet out,” crew member Charles Davis said. “It could have been a disaster."
"It was like a runaway train," crew member Johnathan Adams said.
The crew, led by Captain Jerrick Marker, encountered the dock near the I-64 bridge. Marker says they were not able to get underneath the dock and power it to shore.
He says they were finally able to use the tugboat to nudge the dock gently against the bank of the river, where it was secured with no serious damage to any of the boats.
"It was really cool that we saved everything without tearing anything up," Marker said.
"It was pretty amazing, a new experience,” Adams said. “You'll probably never do that again in your life."
The owner of the dock said he's not sure how it got loose.
The boats were towed back to their proper location Thursday one at a time.
The swift water caused from Wednesday's heavy rain is blamed for the issue.
At least a dozen boat houses and several boats were attached to the dock.
The dock traveled several miles within a short amount time before it was able to be secured by crews.
Lou Wendell Marine Sales on 1st Avenue in St. Albans owns the dock. An employee tells WSAZ.com the dock was stopped on the other side of the I-64 bridge in Nitro near the Kanawha-Putnam line.
No word if anything was damaged.
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