A narrowboat and its helmsman got that sinking feeling after a vessel became suck in a lock for several hours.

The boat became wedged to the concrete floor of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal due to a fault in the a lock gate at the ‘bottom lock number 64’ between Chorley and Wheelton at lunchtime on Good Friday.

It is thought a fault in the gate, close to Dark Lane, allowed water out too quickly, tipping the boat forward and wedging it in place.

A stretch of canal between two locks became almost completely drained as water escaped from the area.

At the time of the incident a man and a woman with their two dogs were navigating the lock.

The woman was operating the lock gate and the man was onboard when water began escaping at a faster rate than normal which led to the front of the vessel tipping forward onto the stone shelf below.

Bemused families enjoying a canalside walk in the holiday sunshine stopped to watch and assist.

Tony Keefe, from Southport Road, Chorley, was with his two sons and wife Tracy when they passed the scene around 2pm.

He said: “The boat looked very perilous, it was stuck fast and tipped forward in the lock.

“There were a lot of people watching as they tried to refloat it. Most of the water had gone from the stretch of canal next to the lock. You could see large areas of the canal bed.”

The Canal and River Trust was called to help and workers from Wheelton Boat Yard and Canal Boat Cruises, Riley Green travelled to the lock to help out.

Dawn Markland from Wheelton Boat Yard said: “We allowed water in slowly so the boat could refloat itself.

“This wasn’t the fault of the people navigating the lock. The problems with this lock have been reported in the past.”

There were no injuries and the boat was taken to be assessed for damage once it was refloated.