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Becky Thatcher Sinking Pics and Video

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    Becky Thatcher Sinking Pics and Video

    Hello Everyone,

    I'm sure most of you have probably heard by now, the Becky Thatcher has taken on water where she is moored on Neville Island, Pennsylvania. I took a look at her yesterday (Feb. 24, 2010), got some pictures, and even recorded two videos that I've posted on YouTube. My write-up with pictures and links to the videos can be found by clicking here.

    This is quite an unfortunate occurrence, in my opinion, and if I had to bet on the cause, I would say it was the two feet of snow earlier this month that did it. Without enough credible evidence to the contrary, at this point, I would say it was the snow. Also, maybe it's a bit of wishful thinking for those who like the conspiracy theory of her being hit by a barge. Though possible, more barges seem to travel on the other side of Neville Island to avoid the dam on the side where the Becky is moored. Few barges seem to be docked farther down from where she is located (though there are some). Also, the bowing of the decks, as seen in photographs in the newspapers, mainly seems to be on the side that is closest to the shore on Neville Island. Barges would not likely have as much access to that side, though smaller craft possibly could. It could have been hit by something, I guess, but there is bowing near the top front where the snow was and near the back middle. It could have buckled in the middle from the weight of the snow on each end. The side of the boat that is visible from the other side of the river (the main "Glenfield" side where most people can see her, and where I took my photographs) indicates less bowing compared to what is on the other side, but one can see that the top deck is bent down a little bit near the front (again, most likely due to the weight of the snow that was on top of her). The owner only had liability insurance, according to the paper, so it's doubtful that he would have sabotaged her for the money. Would scrap sell better than a whole boat? I don't know, but probably not. He would've likely made more money over time if she were in one piece, if he had been able to lease her to a potential business in the city of Pittsburgh. So, I doubt he would've wanted to purposely defame his name by letting the last of the Texas-deck sternwheelers sink below on his watch. Though, sink below on his watch she truly did, and I'm sure that will be on his public epitaph one way or another if he isn't able to save her (and if his latest statements in the papers are any indication of his intentions, it seems that saving her may be among the last things on his mind right now). Also, it seems that since he has owned the boat, over the last however many years, fixing her up hasn't likely ranked very high on his agenda. I think that was part of the reason she was evicted from Marietta; the owner didn't seem to be doing anything with the boat. Boats, like everything else, require upkeep and maintenance (especially an older boat like that). It's an old boat, it sank before in 1984, and it hasn't had much done to it over the last 15 years or so. The area got slammed with two feet of snow, the weight pushed the Becky lower in the water and some got into her, and the weight of the snow bowed the decks in some places too. Well, until any credible evidence is presented to the contrary, that's basically the way it seems right now.

    Another thing I would like to address: I read where the owner of the boat was quoted as saying that the "top two decks had collapsed onto the boat's main deck." From the exterior views that I've seen, that doesn't seem to be the case, but perhaps he (or someone else) got a better view from the Neville Island side? I've seen the photographs in the papers of that side, and the decks definitely look "bowed" and "buckled" in places, but not totally "collapsed". Does anyone know specifically what he might mean by this? Also, has anyone been able to go onto the boat and see through the windows whether or not any of the interior has "collapsed" or not? As for the exterior, though, it doesn't seem like the decks have totally "collapsed". It seems that they are "bowed" and even "buckled" in places, but "collapsed", in my opinion, means completely down (though many of them probably aren't safe to walk on right now).

    Finally, does anyone think there is any chance in heck that the Becky could be saved from her impending doom? I don't know if it's likely, and I'm not sure if I believe in miracles either, but the Becky probably needs nothing short of a miracle to survive now. She sank in 1984 and was saved, so maybe there's a very small chance in heck. But are her chances sinking fast? Unfortunately, this may be the end of the line for our old gal.