Car plunges into canal packed with holiday gear

The sunken car is lifted out of the canal by crane. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The sunken car is lifted out of the canal by crane. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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A HOLIDAYMAKER watched in horror as his bag-laden ­vehicle rolled 100 metres down a hill and plunged into the Union Canal.

The Nissan Primera was submerged up to its roof ­following the mishap in Ratho yesterday that left onlookers stunned.

The car rolled into the canal. Picture: Lisa Ferguson. Picture below: 'Edinburgh's Worst Drivers'

The car rolled into the canal. Picture: Lisa Ferguson. Picture below: 'Edinburgh's Worst Drivers'

Witnesses told how a man could be seen retrieving sodden belongings from the car which is understood to have been packed ahead of a him going on road trip.

It has been reported the handbrake came off the vehicle – that had been at Baird Road – before it coasted towards the water at around 12.20pm.

Bystanders tried to recover the car as it was sinking but relented after it settled onto the canal floor. A tow truck hauled the water-logged car from the canal.

One eyewitness told how he tried to prevent the car sinking after watching it “gurgling “ in the middle of the canal.

Picture: Edinburgh's Worst Drivers

Picture: Edinburgh's Worst Drivers

“I was just crossing a bridge at the canal to come and work on someone’s boat, when I looked over to my right and saw the car in the water,” he said. I jumped over because I thought I had to do something about it.

“So I got a rope and tossed it around the car, and tried to bring it back towards the shore so that boats could still get by, but by that time the car had already settled on the bottom.

“There was nothing that I could do.”

Another onlooker, who had been eating lunch at the nearby Bridge Inn, said the car had been empty but it was ­fortunate no-one had been injured in the drama

Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Picture: Lisa Ferguson

“We had been travelling through in our boat and moored at the restaurant,” she said. We went into the pub to have lunch and two minutes later a waitress came to ask if we had left our car parked outside.

“We went outside to have a look and that’s when we saw a car was in the water. It must have rolled about 100 metres down the hill and went straight into the canal. I think the handbrake must have come off. Luckily, no one was injured.”

The car owner was not available for comment on the incident but a resident, who declined to be identified, said he had received “quite a shock”.

They said: “He told us he was about to go on holiday, and so the car was absolutely filled with all of his stuff.

“After the recovery vehicle was able to get the car back down onto the ground at the side of the canal, he just started going through his water-logged possessions and trying to salvage what he could.

“He never said where he was headed to on holiday, but I doubt he’ll be going anywhere in that car.”

Officials from Scottish Canals arrived at the scene to monitor recovery efforts.

A spokesman said: “Our operations team responded quickly and the car has now been safely removed, leaving no pollution or obstruction to the canal.

“Thankfully the car was empty and no one was injured during the incident.”