Severe weather dislodges 101-year-old boat trapped above Niagara Falls

Strong winds and intense rain dislodged a century-old boat, known as the iron scow, from its rocky perch above Niagara Falls.

The severe weather conditions occurred Thursday. The iron scow shifted from its position in the upper rapids above the Canadian Horseshoe Falls down river toward the Falls, according to Niagara Parks.

Park staff are monitoring the situation in case the boat shifts again.

“Now will it stay in place? Well it’s been stuck there for 101 years. It appears to have sort of flipped on its side and spun around. It’s not in the exact same spot it was yesterday. We think it’s about 150 meters (492 feet) down from its original location,” said Jim Hill, senior manager of heritage.

Niagara Parks celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the ship in 2018, which included the unveiling of a set of panels that told the story of how the scow became stranded.

On Aug. 6, 2018, the iron scow broke loose from its towing tug during a dredging operation. Two men were onboard as the ship headed toward the Falls.

But 51-year-old Gustav Lofberg and 53-year-old James Harris acted quickly, opening the scows dumping doors to flood the inner compartments. The flooded compartments slowed the boat down and it grounded on a rocky perch.

The U.S. Coast Guard came in to help, shooting a lifeline from the roof of a nearby powerhouse to the marooned men. They tied the lifeline to a makeshift windlass and then tied a heavier rope to the lifeline.

That night, a canvas sling suspended from a pulley called a breeches buoy was placed on the heavy rope to get the men back to land. With the help of a man named William “Red” Hill Sr., the men were able to get to safety the next morning.

According to Niagara Parks, the ship was left because a salvage operation was not possible. Since then, the scow has deteriorated.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.