VIDEO: Canal boats craned free from Aylesbury basin

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A dramatic rescue operation to crane around 20 canal boats out of the Aylesbury basin is being completed today (Wednesday).

The boats have been trapped in the basin since a lock at Buckland, near the Arla megadairy in Aston Clinton, collapsed last month.

Once lifted from the water by a huge crane brought in for the operation, the boats were loaded onto a lorry to be taken to the Willow Bridge Marina in Milton Keynes.

The Canal and River Trust is paying for the removal of the boats, with the two-day operation expected to cost £10,000.

A trust spokesman said: “It was quite a slick operation. You only really do something like this in emergency situations.”

Investigations into the collapse are continuing and repairs costing several hundred thousand pounds are expected to take until the August bank holiday to complete.

Brentford - The first canal boat lifted from the canal basin in Aylesbury - they are being taken to Milton Keyne after a lock collapsed stranding boats in Aylesbury

Brentford - The first canal boat lifted from the canal basin in Aylesbury - they are being taken to Milton Keyne after a lock collapsed stranding boats in Aylesbury

Work has been taking place to divert water from the broken lock to allow engineers to see what damage there is below the waterline.

It is still expected to be a couple of weeks before the exact cause of the collapse is known.

An Arla spokesman said: “We are co-operating fully to allow full access to the lock from our site so work can be carried out. We await the result of the investigation.”

Aylesbury Canal Society’s new multi-million pound basin at Circus Fields, off Oakfield Road, is still expected to open in June.

Brentford - The first canal boat lifted from the canal basin in Aylesbury - they are being taken to Milton Keyne after a lock collapsed stranding boats in Aylesbury

Brentford - The first canal boat lifted from the canal basin in Aylesbury - they are being taken to Milton Keyne after a lock collapsed stranding boats in Aylesbury

However, walkers will miss the sight of canal boats on the canal through the summer.

Aylesbury Canal Society chairman Bryan Barnes said: “This year the arm will be very quiet. The walkers will definitely miss seeing the boats.”

Opened in 1839, the Aylesbury Arm is just over six miles long and is home to 16 locks.

It is a key destination for boaters wanting to visit the centre of Aylesbury and the waterside development at the Aylesbury Basin.