FIRST ON 3: Delta Queen frozen pipes burst, damaging the steambo - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

FIRST ON 3: Delta Queen frozen pipes burst, damaging the steamboat

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Yellow warning tape surrounds the historic steamboat Monday morning. Photo by Jessica Lauren/WRCBtv.com Yellow warning tape surrounds the historic steamboat Monday morning. Photo by Jessica Lauren/WRCBtv.com
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: The historic steamboat built back in early 1920's caught the attention of many passer-bys Monday morning. They thought the way the Delta Queen was sitting in the water was unusual.

Chris Sanadoval remembers when the now floating hotel sailed into Chattanooga in 2009. He frequently jogs through Coolidge Park and stops to appreciate the iconic landmark often. Monday he lingered a little longer and he wasn't the only one.  

Chris said, "It's tilted upwards. Like the front is higher than the back of it.  It looks like it is sinking."

Sandy Burnstein said, "its leaning. It's sad because it maybe sinking.  I wish it wasn't because it is beautiful."

The Delta Queen's operators say, the vessel isn't sinking. They did explain why it appeared to be. The ballast tanks needed to be re-adjusted.  

Engineers fixed that issue by the afternoon. The damage on the inside is a whole different story.  

Several rooms, walls and carpet are damaged.  The cause of the damage, operator Randy Ingram says, happened because the Delta Queen wasn't built to withstand cold weather.  

When the temperature dropped, several pipes broke causing water to leak inside. They were hard to reach because of the age of the boat.

The Delta Queen will be closed to all visitors until everything is fixed, which could take up to 3 weeks.


PREVIOUS STORY: Considered a historic icon by some, an eyesore by others, the Delta Queen is having a bad day.

Engineers onboard the steamboat are working to fix broken pipes that caused severe water damage inside the paddlewheel boat that graces Chattanooga's North Shore.

The boat was not originally constructed with sub-freezing temperatures in mind, and water pipes inside the vessel burst after the weeks of colder weather.

The leaks were just recently discovered.

Passersby noticed that the stern of the boat appeared to be sitting lower in the water, since the flooding was concentrated in some passenger rooms and the dining room at the ship's rear.

Leah Ann Ingram, one of the Delta Queen Hotel operators, told Channel 3 via email:

"Unfortunately, like many homes and buildings, the Delta Queen experienced some freezing pipes.  We immediately called in former crew members to assess the damage and repair the leaks.  As you can imagine, with 5 decks, 88 passenger cabins and nearly 50 crew cabins there are a lot of pipes hidden in the many intricately wood paneled walls.  Each leak has to be detected, isolated and repaired one by one, this is unfortunately a slow process.  We are primarily concerned about the safety of our guests and as a precaution do not plan to re-open the hotel until all the proper repairs are completed."


The Delta Queen, now a U.S. National Historic Landmark, faced removal from the city's waterfront in 2013 when the boat was considered an "obstruction" and had some issues with rent payments to the city.

READ MORE | Delta Queen gets 6 month extension

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