Saturday, March 20, 2010

Whites Ferry On The Loose
Ferry Drifts on Potomac's Strong Current

On scene report from Whites Ferry, March 20, 2010.

On Saturday, March 20, at 4:09 pm the Gen. Jubal Early came loose from its cable and drifted downstream from the course between Virginia and Maryland at Whites Ferry.

Shortly after the boat left the Virginia side workers on board could be seen working to free the craft and its cable from a piece of floating debris that appeared to be a log. After coming to a complete standstill in the Potomac the ferry proceeded toward Maryland for a very short while before beginning to drift with the current, still stronger than usual.

Within a few minutes the boat had drifted several hundred meters downstream while continuing to make way to the Maryland shore. Workers on shore quickly launched a small blue tug boat that helped pull the ferry upstream to the ramp. Eventually the ferry's bow was secured.

The full load of cars on board could still not disembark because the boat remained out of alignment with the ramp. Workers on land used a tractor to pull the stern upstream, finally allowing the autos to drive off. The ferry was secured and emptied by 5:12 pm.

Ferry service had just restarted several hours earlier after a protracted outage due in part to debris on the river.

It was unknown when service would resume after this latest incident.

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