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Belle of Louisville accident ends 2009 season early

Posted 10-18-2009 at 05:13 AM by Franz Neumeier
Updated 10-18-2009 at 06:07 AM by Franz Neumeier
The steamboat Belle of Louisville has been pushed into a drydock by strong winds on early Saturday afternoon. On board were about 300 passengers, several of them suffering minor injuries. The Belle of Louisville's paddlewheel crashed into a drydock of the McBride fleet near Harrods Creek breaking a few bucket boards as well as suffering damage on the jockey bar (which is the beam behind the paddlewheel that is attached to the ends of the cylinder timbers, holding the cylinder timbers in alignment. Thanks to Capt. Alan Bates for this explanation.) The Belle of Louisville's hull obviously was not damaged and the boat did not take on water.

According to the local TV news, Belle of Louisville CEO Linda Harris said that all remaining cruises of the boat this year will probably be cancelled and events scheduled will be held on the boat whiled docked at 4th street wharf at Louisville.

The Courier-Journal reports that the Belle of Louisville was under the command of Capt. James Donahue and pilot Steve Mattingly when the accident happened, both very experienced steamboaters and long-time Belle officers.

WLKY has some pictures and Wave3 has more details on the accident.

It seams that 2009 has not been a good year for steamboats at all, to say the least. With the American Queen and Delta Queen out of cruise business and the Julia Belle Swain docked, the Str. Natchez at new orleans now is the only actually operating steamboat on the rivers, though at least the Belle of Louisville for sure will come back, soon.
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