Floating restaurant breaks free and drifts away

Ruth Doherty

Guests at a permanently moored floating restaurant got more than they bargained for on Friday as the boat broke free and drifted 100ft down a rain-swollen Ohio river.

It was Friday fun as usual at Jeff Ruby's Waterfront before it came away from its moorings and floated off, eventually stopping 100ft away at a bridge.

There were about 83 nervous diners on board at the time, who were rescued by firefighters using gangplanks and ropes. Luckily, a rear mooring line prevented it from drifting off further.

In the seafood restaurant's 25-year history, this is the first time something of the sort has happened.

Police Lieutenant Rob Ervin said: 'We don't know how it happened. It's been here for years and years. It's tough to say what caused this.'

The National Weather Service said a flood warning was in effect for the Ohio River in the area with the river at more than 3ft above what is classified as flood stage. But owner Jeff Ruby told cincinnati.com: 'We've opened in higher waters'.

Former Cincinnati Bengals star wide receiver Cris Collinsworth, who is also a NBC pro-football commentator, was on board at the time, as well as Kathy Kinane, of Symmes Township.

She said: 'We felt a couple of bumps that didn't feel right. We got up to leave and the ramp wasn't there.

'We're familiar with the river and this just didn't feel right. All I wanted to do was get off.
She added that staff 'handled everything well,' but said: 'The evacuation could have ended a little sooner.'

And, as rescuers were getting women off the boat first, she had a lengthy wait for her husband.

Would you fancy dining on a floating restaurant? Would you be worried about drifting off down the river? Let us know below...

Related articles

15 die in New York tour bus crash