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Boat accident leaves OAP with 40 stitches
A RETIRED couple say they could have been killed after a “dangerous” boater forced them to crash their 65ft barge.
Dave Jenkins, 59, needed 40 stitches to his head after he swerved to avoid the oncoming boat on the Thames by Abingdon Bridge on Sunday, Oc tober 14. His Dutch houseboat hit a large tree branch and the impact smashed off the wheel house where he and wife Sally were standing.
Mr Jenkins said: “It is so frustrating as you expect people to be sensible.
“The river is a beautiful place to be. But this guy would cause problems for anybody. He is a danger. People like this are ruining it for the vast majority.”
The incident with the white 16ft cruiser boat happened at about 1.20pm.
Mrs Jenkins, 61, said the couple had the right of way and were sticking to the 5mph speed limit.
She said: “It was a very frightening incident. It was an extremely irresponsible boater. He just came straight on. As we got closer and closer he didn’t get out of the way.”
She said more than £30,000-worth of damage had been caused.
“The impact was enough to take this huge building down.
“These sort of forces involved could kill you.”
Mrs Jenkins said after the incident, the driver of the boat swore at them before fleeing the scene.
She added: “This lunatic is still on the loose. Next time it could be a lot worse.”
She said her and her husband, who live on the houseboat in the Abingdon area, had been helped by bystanders, adding: “The local Abingdon residents were absolutely wonderful.”
Angler Len Chapman, 53, from Surrey, said he heard the crash and was not sure whose fault it had been.
But he said: “It was quite terrifying.
“He was lucky not to lose his head.”
Mr Jenkins was treated at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.
Thames Valley Police spokesman Adam Fisher said: “It was reported to us as dangerous manoeuvring on the river of a boat in Abingdon.
“It is being investigated by the Environment Agency.”
Alan Dagg, waterways officer for the Environment Agency, said: “If there is anyone with any information, such as the name of the cruiser or contact details of the owners, please get in touch with us to help us with our investigation.
“As the navigation authority for the River Thames, the Environment Agency is leading the investigation into this collision.”
Call 03708 506 506 with information.