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French coach driver attempts tightest U-turn ever after getting stuck on a Devon slip way

French tourists got a one-of-a-kind view of the River Dart after their bus driver was forced to perform a U-turn on a ferry slip way.

Carrying out the perfect manoeuvre can be tricky when you have ample room so spare a thought for the driver who had to slowly shunt the coach backwards and forwards.

And it wasn't only the tight space that left the driver hot under the collar, a queue of cars built up behind the vehicle, as well as curious passersby.

French coach driver attempts tightest U-turn ever after getting stuck on a Devon slip way Credit: Wessex News

The coach-load of tourists found themselves stuck on slipway after the driver tried to board the ferry on the Kingswear side of the River Dart - only to get turned back.

Unable to reverse back up the way he had come, the driver had no other option than to attempt the U-turn.

Triple-axle coaches are not permitted to use the ferry as they are usually overweight.

Experience has shown that damage can occur to the rear of the vehicle during loading and unloading. There are clear signs in place to warn drivers.

– Dartmouth Higher Ferry spokeman


Seal fights anglers for fish

Dartmouth-based fishing charter firm, Outlaw got more than it bargained for last weekend when it took some regulars on a trip on the Mid-Channel Wrecks in search of winter pollock.

The seal would not let the fish escape without a fight Credit: Owen Mallia

Tim Smith from Dawlish hooked a fish but had to fight off a seal for his prize. The boat's owner describes what happened.

Tim had just retrieved the fish to mid-water when suddenly his rod dipped viciously right over the rail, he now appeared to have a real battle on his hands, slowly he gained on the fish until his pollock broke the surface some distance from the boat.

It was clear he had caught a pollock, but trailing right behind his catch was a beady pair of eyes and whiskers – a seal had decided to attack his fish on the way up and hung on to it right on to the bitter end.

Thankfully, only the fish was hooked and as he reeled in his pollock towards Outlaw, the seal stubbornly let go and disappeared back to the deep.

– Owen Mallia, Skipper, Outlaw
You can just see the muzzle of the hungry seal trying to stop the fishermen stealing his lunch Credit: Owen Mallia

The same thing happened to two more anglers - and so, when the seal surfaced again, the skipper handed him a pollock, which he took and disappeared for the rest of the day, leaving the fishermen to fish in peace.

Tim Smith from Dawlish - who battled a seal for his prize - will certainly dine out on this tale for years to come Credit: Owen Mallia

Dartmouth Lower Ferry enters digital age

Dartmouth Lower Ferry enters digital age Credit: ITV News West Country

Dartmouth Lower Ferry will today begin offering customers a new digital card for ferry crossings. It's expected to speed up the ticketing process and can be scanned through a car's windscreen. Anyone who still has paper tickets will still be able to use them until they run out.

The rainbow garden that's divided into colours

As part of our series on gardens in the West Country, our reporter Francesca Carpenter has been to visit Ash Tree Farm near Dartmouth.

The owners say it's a rainbow garden, carefully laid out in all the different colours. Although it's rarely seen by members of the public, this summer it is open on a number of occasions as part of the National Gardens Scheme.

Family lose home as fire rips through boat

A well known fishing family in Dartmouth have tonight lost their home and business after fire ripped through their boat, The African Queen, early this morning.

Alan and Hilary Hemsley lived on the boat from which they ran fishing trips for tourists. The former Navy vessel is steeped in history, having helped to repatriate bodies of those killed during World War Two. Seth Conway reports.


Daylight shows full extend of damage to African Queen

It's hoped the hull of the boat is salvageable Credit: ITV News West Country

Following last night's fire on board a boat moored in the Dart Estuary at Dartmouth assessors have been examining the damage caused.

The 51ft pleasure boat, The African Queen, has been badly damaged, although it's hope the hull is salvageable.

Insurance assessors have been examining the damaged caused by the fire Credit: ITV News West Country

Crews praised after boat fire in Dartmouth

Team work and quick actions meant a boat fire on the river Dart did not become a much more serious incident.

Just after midnight on Monday night, Dart Harbour staff were alerted by Brixham Coastguard to a serious fire aboard the African Queen, belonging to Alan and Hilary Hemsley.

Luckily Hilary and Alan were not on board when the fire took hold and by the time Dart Harbour staff arrived on the scene the vessel was well and truly ablaze.

I wish to pay tribute to Brixham Coastguard, Torbay Lifeboat, the Lower Ferry service, and especially the skipper Mr William Davis, Devon and Somerset Fire Brigade and Adler and Allen, our oil pollution responders, for their swift response and their excellent team effort. Whilst the primary concern was for Hilary and Alan’s safety, all agencies have acted together to prevent the situation from being far worse, namely the vessel sinking off the pontoon resulting in a potential pollution incident. I wish to thank all those who were involved in the rescue effort last night.

– Harbour Master Capt Rob Giles

Fire on board pleasure cruiser on River Dart

The African Queen was well alight when fire crews arrived Credit: Paul Reid

Fire fighters have spent the night dealing with a fire on board a boat moored in the Dart Estuary at Dartmouth.

The 51ft pleasure boat called The African Queen was well alight and a number of appliances were required.

The 51ft pleasure boat has been badly damaged Credit: Paul Reid
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