27 scenes which capture the drama of the Riverdance and the aftermath of one of the Fylde Coast’s most memorable sea incidents
A winter storm sealed the fate of the Riverdance ferry when it became stranded on the sands in January 2008.
The ferry ran aground in Cleveleys – pushed to the shallows by a huge wave. The crew declared a mayday while sailing the vessel from Warrenpoint in Northern Ireland to Heysham.
The accident, which left the ship stricken for the best part of a year, and the major rescue mission which involved three helicopters, two lifeboats, and a small army of emergency workers on the shore, attracted significant media attention.
It was a dramatic sight. A sight which saw 100,000 tourists flock to the promenade to catch a glimpse of the Riverdance. The ferry was further bashed by heavy seas and it sank deeper and deeper into the sands.
There was no way of righting it and so salvagers faced the heavy task of breaking it up. We reported extensively on the tenth anniversary back in 2018 and now we rewind with a gallery of photos which captured the scenes and the aftermath.
Containers spill out to the beach in this dramatic shot
The bow of the Riverdance had been removed in this photo
Stranded at sunset watched by onlookers
Someone with a sense of humour had erected this unofficial sign
Aerial photo of the stranded ferry against the backdrop of Blackpool
Making progress in cutting up the vessel
Large chunks of steel missing as the cutting up the stricken vessel began
A sea rescue helicopter lowering salvage experts onto the stricken ferry
People watching the dramatic scene from the safety of the shore. It was estimated that 100,000 tourists came to see the Riverdance
Stranded – the waves lap the containers which were spilling out into the sea
A close up look at the salvage operation in July 2008
This photo was taken more than a year later when work was undertaken to fix a damaged pipe at the site of where the Riverdance stood
A sorrowful sight as waves crash against the ferry. Part of its name is covered by the tide
Spectators on February 3 2008 – the sight drew in the crowds
A slowly disappearing ship as the salvage operation continues in July 2008
The salvage team in July 2008
An atmospheric shot of the Riverdance with silhouette figures in the foreground and the sunlight glistening on the side of the doomed vessel
This was the scene a couple of days later. It was quite a sight. People flocked to the promenade to have a look
Viewing the Riverdance from a distance
Hundreds of people seen here surveying the dramatic scene
Blackpool Tower rises above the hazy scene
This photo puts the whole scene into perspective
German band Fotos used the Riverdance scene as a backdrop for their music video
The production crew with all their gear on the sands film German band Fotos music video
Aside from the salvage operation to move the vessel, debris which washed ashore had to be shifted, as this photo shows
The stricken ferry takes a battering from the waves