Divers ill after clearing River Avon in Chippenham

Posted: 12/19/2011 in all marine news

BBC News –

Volunteers from a diving group who removed three lorry loads of rubbish from a Wiltshire river have since reported symptoms of nausea.

Members of Calne Divers spent six hours clearing a stretch of the River Avon near the town bridge in Chippenham.

More than 40 trolleys, 20 bicycles and a bus stop with “bin and timetable still attached” were hauled out.

But Jon Dodsworth, from the club, said five divers had since become ill “and we think it might be Weil’s disease”.

Ten divers from the scuba diving club were recruited to clear a half-mile (800m) stretch of the river between the town bridge and the footbridge by the golf course, in Monkton Park, last week.

Working “by feel”, the divers spent six hours in the silt-filled water pulling out traffic cones, pushchairs, car wheels, a cash register and a complete 8ft (2.4m) bus stop sign believed to date back to the 1980s.

“I don’t know the last time it was cleared and there was no evidence, where we were, that it had ever been done in the history of the town and definitely not for at least 25 to 30 years,” said Mr Dodsworth.

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