AN amateur photographer captured the extraordinary moment that a sinking boat was rescued from the River Thames.

The speed boat had to be lifted out of the water by a crane on Monday, after it had begun to sink close to Iffley Lock.

Andrew Shacknove, who has lived in Iffley Village for 27 years, saw the shipwreck and immediately started taking photos of the rescue operation.

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Mr Shacknove said he marvelled at the ‘impressive skills and teamwork’ being used to haul the vessel up.

He said: “The photographs were taken from my house and that’s how we happened to see it.

“It looked like a fisherman holding his catch.”

Mr Shacknove said that the operation was carried out by the Oxford Cruisers company and the Environment Agency.

However, he added that the sight of sinking boats along the River Thames was not an irregular occurrence.

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The Iffley resident said: “It is not uncommon for boats to sink around here, it happens every year or two.

“It happens because boats are abandoned, or the owner isn’t in residence in high water to adjust the lines, so it sinks.

“The Environment Agency tries to do its best to locate the owner, so they can pay to remove the boat.

“But most of the time they cannot find them, and it is left to the Environment Agency and the taxpayers to remove the boats.

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“It costs thousands of pounds to remove.”

Mr Shacknove said the boat in question had been in the area for about a year.

He said: “Usually abandoned boats are a lot bigger.”

He expressed his concerns about the environmental impact these sinking, abandoned boats have on the river.

He added: “These boats sit there for quite a while before they are removed and during this time all kinds of pollutants go into the river – heavy metals, fuels, electronics, all sorts of things.

“It would be nice to think that the boating community and the Environment Agency could work together more constructively and more proactively before they actually sink.

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“It can take months or years to remove, and it costs taxpayers thousands.

“They are rarely completely sunken, and they rarely sink without someone seeing them sink.”

Sinking boats around Oxfordshire have been a common occurrence for years.

Two years ago the Environment Agency had to rescue a sinking boat at Clifton Lock.

In 2014 the Environment Agency also had to step in after a boat in Iffley sank and spilled oil into the river.

In June this year the agency had to send a company to rescue a van from the Thames in South Oxford after the driver lost control of the vehicle and ended up in the river.

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Resident Dale Chamberlain heard the splash of the van falling into the water, and jumped into the river to save the driver.

It is still unclear how the driver ended up in the river and police have not been able to provide any information since the incident.