Messing about on the river! Luxury boat owner smashes craft into iconic Richmond Bridge on the Thames

  • A Princess V57 yacht, worth more than £1million, crashed into the bridge
  • Powerful currents on the Thames contributed to the crash
  • The boat only suffered minor damage and no one was injured

On a gloriously sunny day, lazily sailing down the Thames in your own luxury boat is a lifestyle most people can only dream of.

But for the would-be captain of a £1 million boat, it all went wrong when he forgot a cardinal maritime rule - always look where you are going.

A Princess V57, called Victoria, gave sunbathers a shock this afternoon by careering straight into Richmond Bridge in west London.

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The luxury yacht was trying to drive under Richmond Bridge but high tides made the manoeuvre difficult

The crash happened just before 4pm this afternoon. According to the Port of London Authority (PLA), the boat - which retails for over the £1 million mark - miraculously came out of the accident without any real damage. Also, none of the passengers were injured.

A spokesman for the PLA said: 'At about 15.49 she was coming under Richmond Road Bridge and struck the side, she seems to have reversed her engines and attempted the manouevre again successfully.

'When a boat like this reverses, the engines can make quite a loud noise, so people might have thought it was more dramatic than it was.

'I think it was just a family day out, the only thing remarkable about it is that the weather was lovely, so everyone and their dog was out to see it. As far as I understand it was all over in a couple of minutes.'

Caroline Fisher, 45, who witnessed the incident from her home by the bridge, said: 'It was really bizarre. I saw this big boat coming towards the bridge and just thought it was not going to fit through.

'There was just this big bang and then it seemed to be doing some sort of three point turn and there was another really loud bang. I thought some of the other boats around might have gone to help it but it just sat there for about ten minutes and then it went under the bridge and everyone started cheering.

'I'm sure it probably wasn't but it seemed like it was out of control. I was taking loads of pictures when it sailed by me but I couldn't really see any damage.'

A RNLI lifeboat was called out to deal with the incident but, by the time it arrived, the yacht was already through the bridge and was continuing with its journey.

A large crowd gathered after the crash, at 4pm this afternoon, to watch the boat eventually make it under

The Port of London Authority said the privately owned boat escaped the incident without any real damage

Water levels were higher than expected, and strong currents are thought to be partly responsible for the crash

An RNLI spokesman said: 'An RNLI London lifeboat crew was called to a report of a motor vessel pinned against Richmond Bridge by the tide this afternoon.

'Before the crew from Chiswick lifeboat station arrived, the vessel had managed to get itself free and had begun travelling down river.

'The lifeboat met the troubled vessel near Twickenham Bridge and noticed it had suffered some scratches on the starboard side.

'The lifeboat crew spoke to a person on-board who said everything was now ok and that the vessel was heading to a nearby wharf down river.'

The boat is thought to have been dragged towards the bridge by the river's currents and became stuck under its arch due to high water levels.

The accident occurred just after high tide and the water levels were running almost a metre higher than would normally be expected, meaning the flow was particularly fierce. This is because of an ongoing situation where the flood waters than have struck so much of England in recent weeks are flowing out to sea along the Thames.

A spokesman for the PLA said: 'It's wrong to speculate too much on this incident but it's quite conceivable that the driver would have been coming up to the bridge expecting a certain strength of current and could have been caught unawares.'

The boat, a Princess V57, retails for upwards of £1 million is capable of reaching speeds of 36 knots

The yacht was able to reverse and make it under the bridge on the second attempt

Although the incident only lasted minutes, the sunny weather meant large crowds were out to witness it

The passengers on the yacht were later met by lifeguards but no assistance was needed

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