That sinking feeling was experienced by two men aboard a boat near Chester weir this morning (Tuesday December 29) in a moment captured by one quick-thinking onlooker.
Fortunately the pair, thought to be in their 30s, made it to the water’s edge unharmed but were cold and embarrassed after it is believed the vessel was overrun with fast moving flood waters around 10.20am.
Fire crews were about to launch their rescue boat from Sandy Lane when the men scrambled out.
Christine Tazilady Owen, from Chester, who posted a photo of the capsized boat on the Chronicle Facebook page, commented: “The boat was carrying water but didn’t actually sink, it was carried off under the bridge.
"There was a quite big dinghy attached to it so don’t think the boat will go under. I saw the boat but didn’t see the men. I was on the Handbridge side and took pic just to see if anyone recognised the boat and wanted to know where it was.”
Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service has since issued a warning for water users to be extra careful at the moment because of the fast flowing flood waters in streams and rivers.
Firefighters, who were called at 10.24am, spotted the men in shallow water at the edge of the Dee, at the bottom of the high wall over which onlookers often admire the weir, that leads from the Old Dee bridge to The Groves .
They were apparently freezing cold and unable to move despite wearing wet suits and being equipped with flotation devices.
The fire service was about to deploy its rescue boat at Sandy Lane, from where the men had launched, when the men managed to go underneath the Old Dee bridge and got out next to the hydro-electric station on the other side.
There was no sign of the boat at this point but firefighters said the trailer at Sandy Lane indicated it was ‘a decent size’.
North West Ambulance Service paramedics checked the men over before giving them a lift back to their vehicle at Sandy Lane.
Watch manager Richie Gerrard, of Chester Fire Station, said afterwards: “The safety message is that everybody thinks it is just a high tide but it is flood water coming down from the hills and it’s fast flowing. I think the men underestimated the water conditions.”