The Dark History of the River Wyre Where Nicola Bulley Disappeared
The stretch of river that may have claimed the life of missing mother of two Nicola Bulley has been ravaged by a string of deadly tragedies over the years.
The dark history of River Wyre today may be revealed, as the massive search for Miss Bulley enters its 14th day.
The 45-year-old woman disappeared while walking her dog near the village of St Michael’s in Wyre, Lancashire, on January 27. Police believe Ms Bulley fell into the river and drowned – although Nicola’s relatives say that there is ‘no proof’ that this happened.
But the river has a ‘notorious’ reputation. Nearly 45 years on from the day Mrs. Bulley disappeared, it was the scene of a deadly collision that killed a teenage boy – his body drifted into a river and was not found for months.
It also claimed the life of a two-year-old child who drowned a mile from where Ms. Bulley was at the last scene. And this river is the site of a terrible gas explosion that killed 16 people.
The mother-of-two, 45, disappeared while walking her dog along the River Wyre near the village of St Michael’s
The horrific explosion claimed the lives of 16 people in 1984. This is how the Daily Mail reported on the tragedy at that time.
Abbeystead gas explosion:
It was an explosion that shocked the country and left 16 people – including an 11-year-old boy and his mother – dead.
But in May 1984, a waterworks on the Wyre River exploded in a devastating explosion that leveled the facility.
At the time, a group of 44 people – many from St Michael’s on Wyre, where Nicola Bulley was last seen – were touring the factory.
Unbeknownst to them, a lethal amount of methane had accumulated in a pipe and ignited, creating a giant fireball that tore through the underground complex.
Eight people were killed instantly, the explosion caused reinforced concrete columns and the ceiling to collapse.
A large-scale rescue operation was launched, involving more than 20 ambulances, firefighters and heavy lifting kits.
Cranes were used to pull concrete beams from the destroyed underground room where most of the victims were when the explosion occurred.
Survivors told how huge flames engulfed them, trapping many people inside. Others were thrown into a nearby field due to the force of the explosion.
Eight people were instantly killed in the explosion, which was caused when accumulated methane was ignited. Eight more people died from their injuries after that
A villager from St Michael’s, Pat Kaylor, was blown out of the front door by the force of the explosion.
“I just sat on the wall,” she told the BBC. ‘My clothes were almost completely burned and my skin was in tatters, and I could hear people inside crying and screaming.’
The explosion caused the ceiling of the underground room to collapse on the heads of tourists who had been invited by the Northwest Water Authority to tour the facility following recent flooding in their village.
The crater was immediately filled with river water. Paramedic Mike Abel, a member of the emergency team trying to help the injured, described the scene of utter carnage.
‘When we got to the top we saw this big hole in the ground. It’s big enough to fit two or three double-decker buses,” he told the BBC on the 30th anniversary of the disaster.
‘The explosion had to be huge, the roof had to go straight up and then fall straight down. Unfortunately, there were a lot of people inside at the time.’
Eight of the survivors of the initial blast died later, bringing the death toll to 16.
Of the remaining survivors, some were seriously injured, a consultant plastic surgeon told the Daily Mail the burn was the worst burn he had ever seen.
Some can’t even recognize their own faces because the burns are so terrible.
Survivor Maureen Burgess, a water utility worker, managed to escape the explosion and crawled out of the collapsed building.
Some of the survivors were seriously injured, friends said they couldn’t recognize them
Experts claim a spark may have ignited the accumulated methane. But what causes the spark to create the fireball is still a mystery
Speaking of the horror, she said: ‘There were other people out. Their hair was burned and their clothes were gone.’
Another survivor, John Holmes, added: ‘There are friends you don’t recognize.’
The cause of the explosion has never been determined.
A 16-year-old boy was riding on a friend’s motorbike when he lost control on a narrow bridge.
The teenager’s body was thrown off a bicycle from a bridge – upstream where Nicola Bulley was last seen – and was found two months later near the mouth of the river.
The tragic accident happened outside the village of Woodplumpton, near Preston, on or about January 27, 1978 – 45 years before Ms. Bulley’s disappearance.
Roger Jones, 16, was a passenger on a friend’s motorcycle when the driver lost control on a narrow bridge on or about January 27, 1978
The 16-year-old was thrown into Barton Brook, the river that flows into the Wyre less than a mile upstream from the bench, where Willow and Miss Bulley’s cell phone were found.
Roger was thrown into Barton Brook, the river that eventually flows into the River Wyre less than a mile upstream from the bench, where Willow and Miss Bulley’s cell phone were found nearly two weeks ago.
Unfortunately, the driver was knocked unconscious, so the emergency team didn’t realize he had a passenger.
It wasn’t until 3 a.m. that rescuers searched for Roger and found only one of his gloves on the riverbank.
Despite a huge search involving police divers and dog handlers, no trace of the schoolboy was found until his body washed up on a sandy beach at high tide. down.
It floats about seven miles downstream from St Michael’s-on-Wyre, where Miss Bulley was last seen.
While the streams leading into the river system were flooded that night after heavy rain in the Bowland forest area, his family believes the tragedy may help explain Miss Bulley’s fate.
‘That’s been on our minds since Nicola went missing,’ Roger’s brother Donald told Mail Plus.
After a search of the River Wyre around Miss Bulley’s Lancashire village turned up fruitless, speculation has focused on whether the mother-of-two’s body may have been swept out to sea.
‘The water level would have been higher that night, but if Roger was swept away like that, maybe that’s what happened to her too.
‘He would be swept across the bench where her dog was found, over the dam and out to sea.’
Roger, who attended Fulwood High School, had hoped to enter Myerscough College to study agriculture to pursue his dream of becoming a farmer.
The stream next to where his glove was found flows into a tributary of the River Brock, then confluence with the River Wyre just in front of the village of St Michael’s.
The bridge is about four miles upstream from the bench where Miss Bulley’s pet was found.
Roger’s family continued to search after police discovered a gap, but eventually came to the conclusion that he had been swept away.
The stream next to where his glove was found flows into a tributary of the River Brock, then joins the River Wyre just in front of the village of St Michael’s
It was not until March that police informed them that a body had been found on a sandbank downstream near the Shard Bridge – halfway between Wyre Road between the village of St Michael’s and Morecambe Bay.
Mr. Jones – then 23 – and his other brother had to go to the local police station and identify it as Roger’s.
“It was a terrible time,” said the 67-year-old. ‘The disappearance of Nicola brought it all back on us because there were so many similarities – the location, the date, the support from the public and the mystery of exactly what happened.
‘I just hope and pray for them, they must be going through a complete nightmare.’
The two-year-old boy from Rochdale drowned on May 1, 2000 after he disappeared from River Wyre Caravan Park, Mains Lane, Singleton.
The boy’s body was found on a sandy beach in the shade of the Shard Bridge, half a mile down the stream near the foot of the Shard.
Little Reece drowned just seven miles from where Nicola Bulley went missing.
Reece Maybury, two, drowned in a river that police believe missing mother Nicola Bulley may have died in
A major search operation was launched after the child’s grandfather reported he was missing from the caravan site.
Helicopters of police, residents and the coast guard searched the shoreline at high tide, where the body was found two hours later.
Speaking at the time, said Ged Lynch, director of the Liverpool coast guard who helped coordinate the search, the water temperature of the River Wyre was low enough to cause hypothermia – despite the hot weather of the period. bank break.
‘Sadly, despite a frantic search involving dozens of rescuers from the Shard Bridge towards the sea, Reece’s body was still lying on the riverbank at 1.50pm,’ the Lancashire Telegraph reported.
‘We extend our sincere thanks to all those involved in the timely search and rescue and our deepest condolences to all the families at this time.’