Breakaway ice sinks boats in Serbia

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Breakaway ice sinks boats in Serbia

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The big freeze that hit central and eastern Europe is starting to thaw, bringing more problems for the region.

Vast blocks of ice on the river Danube in Serbia have broken away, crushing and sinking dozens of boats, pontoons and floating restaurants.

The temperature has risen from minus 20 last week to around 10 degrees Celsius.

“We are trying to save what can be saved, about 20 to 30 boats disappeared out of 100 moored. We have to see where the rest of them ended up,” boat owner Mihajlo Svilkaric said.

“The river froze so fast that nothing could be done, we couldn’t get the boats out of the water, it all happened in 24 hours, so all the boats were stuck in ice,” said Dragan Jovanovic, the president of a local nautical club.

Over the past three weeks Serbia suffered extremely cold weather with a state of emergency declared in several regions.

The Danube, which is one of the main rivers in Europe and an important transport route, passes through the capital Belgrade.

The river was covered with ice and ice-breakers and the military had to be called in to make it navigable.

Twenty people died in Serbia during the cold snap.