Highways and Public Works Provides Update Regarding Yukon River Ferry Incident

    The George Black Ferry in Operation (photo courtesy of Yukon Highway and Public Works)

    The ferry got stuck on a sandbar while crossing the Yukon River on Wednesday.

    Residents of West Dawson are now isolated after a commuter ferry connecting their community and Dawson got stuck after hitting a sandbar in the Yukon River.

    The ferry didn't have passengers on board when the accident occurred and crew were safely removed from the vessel on Wednesday.

    Oshea Jephson, Communications and Public Relations Analyst for Yukon Highways and Public Works, gave CHON News an update on the situation today.

    "The George Black Ferry in Dawson became stuck on a sandbar yesterday so we had a barge from Schmidt Mining that came and helped us essentially tow the ferry back to shore. It was brought back to shore safely so now we're in the process of of towing it out of the water. A portion of Front Street in Dawson City is being closed and we're laying down some cable and some skidways to tow the ferry out of the water. Once that's done we're going to be doing a mechanical and safety inspection of the ship to make sure everything is ok and determine if any damage took place and what our next steps are going to be from there."

    Jepshon notes the water levels along in the Yukon River where the crash occurred are currently 1.5 feet or 31 percent lower than average.  Though the low water levels have not being linked to the cause of the crash as of now.

    The Department of Highway and Public works is also closely analyzing the river to see if it will begin freezing this year to allow for the formation of an ice bridge.  Residents of Dawson City are hoping the river will begin freezing shortly to allow for an ice bridge to form between the two communities for easy transportation.

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