Excavator caught by the tide in Mumbles

TIME and tide wait for no man, or digger for that matter.

This machine became submerged in the sea off Mumbles on May 18 and hasn’t moved since.

Its presence is part of a £14 million upgrade of the seawall between Verdi’s restaurant and the Oystermouth Square car park. But whether it lives to excavate another day remains to be seen.

Passersby took photos as the tide rose higher and higher. John Britton, of Sketty, who stopped off at the nearby Croeso Lounge at Oyster Wharf, said: “We joked that it was Mumbles’s newest tourist attraction.”

The driver of the excavator was reportedly serenaded by his colleagues singing Blondie’s The Tide is High.

The seawall is being upgraded in sections to better protect 79 vulnerable properties from coastal flooding. As well as being up to half a metre higher, the promenade’s pinchpoints will be removed as part of the project, and there will be new seating, resurfacing and landscaping.

The Welsh Government is funding around £12 million of the £14 million scheme, with Swansea Council paying the remainder.

Contractor Knights Brown said the excavator became stranded following a mechanical failure and that nobody was injured. A spokeswoman said the digger used biodegradable oil and that, as a result, the risk of environmental damage was negligible.

“We have, however, taken the additional precaution of deploying spill booms as a containment measure,” she said. “A recovery plan has been drawn up with the assistance of specialist contractors. Temporary access tracks will be installed on the beach and recovery vehicles will retrieve the machine at low tide in the coming days.”

She added: “As a matter of public safety, we ask that people adhere to the safety measures that have been put in place and do not attempt to access the beach to get close to the machine.”

Four years ago a crane was partially submerged by the sea at Mumbles Pier after its legs became stuck in the mud.

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