'Definitely a boat ride to remember': Edmonton Riverboat passengers stranded on river overnight
The Edmonton Riverboat returned to Rafter's Landing on Sunday, after more than 300 passengers were stranded on the water for hours Saturday night when it was unable to navigate a strong current.
The riverboat was forced to hold its position near Accidental Beach after several failed attempts to return to its dock, where it was scheduled to be at 10:30 p.m.
Edmonton Fire Rescue Services was called, and with three rescue boats in the North Saskatchewan River, began unloading groups of people from the ferry.
"They're going against the current tonight, and it's moving pretty swiftly," Sarah Jackson, City of Edmonton senior communications advisor, said at the scene around midnight.
"They're going to offload about 100 people right now, six to seven per boat, and they're going to see if that will allow the boat to move through the current with few less people," Jackson added.
The vessel was carrying more than 300 passengers, 149 of whom were offloaded by 2:31 a.m.
"It is what it is," passenger Lori Anthony told CTV News Edmonton.
She and fellow passenger Brad Holmes were evacuated around 1:30 a.m. Holmes added, "No one was really panicking or anything. Everyone was just kind of hanging out."
"Definitely a boat ride to remember," Anthony said.
"The bars were still open, so no one was too worried about it," Holmes laughed.
By 4:30 a.m., 90 per cent of the ferry's passengers had been evacuated, and officials said the new plan was to attempt again to dock in the morning, when the current was slower.
However, the Riverboat had not made its way back to Rafters' Landing by Sunday morning, and was seen resting at 11 a.m. east of its home. The ferry's 1 p.m. sailing on Sunday was cancelled due to the work to get it back.