Bijou du Rhône - Givors english summary

The passenger boat "Bijou du Rhône" operates cruises on the Saône and Rhône rivers between Chalon-sur-Saône and Arles. It left Lyon at the start of the cruise and is now travelling down the Rhône, about to pass under the A47 motorway bridge near the town of Givors on Friday 6 April 2018 at 11.40pm.
Three quarters of the way through the channel, the vessel struck a bridge pier in the middle of the river on its starboard beam. A leak occurred in a crew cabin. The captain decided to tie up as quickly as possible in order to secure the 127 passengers and crew.
Once at the quayside, the passengers were evacuated from the boat with the help of the land-based rescue services that arrived quickly on the scene. No injuries were reported.

The investigations carried out established that the direct cause of the accident was the incorrect approach to the bridge by the boat, which was too far to the right of the channel.

Several factors may have contributed to the occurrence of this accident :
• a strong current with a downstream boat sailing t hr ou gh a meander of the Rhône with a bridge in the middle ;
• the bridge piers positioned in the centre of the river ;
• only two spars, on the port side at 350 m and on the starboard side at 15 m upstream of the bridge, indicate the limits of the channel ; these beacons do not have lights visible at night.

The BEA-TT has formulated preventive recommendations in the field of navigational aid signalling on the approach to the Givors bridge.

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