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2001: Donald Campbell's speedboat recovered
Divers have raised the wreck of Donald Campbell's boat, Bluebird, from the bottom of Coniston Water in Cumbria.

The boat had lain there since the accident in 1967 which killed Campbell, 46, as he attempted to break the world water speed record.

The craft was winched to the surface after a three-hour operation to tow it to the lakeside from its resting place, 150 feet (45 metres) below the surface of the lake.

The quest to raise the boat was led by diver Bill Smith.

Mr Smith said he was glad they had reached the boat as there was always the risk that less scrupulous souvenir hunters could get there first.

"You can see now she's in a remarkable state of preservation and she'll not rot away to nothing now, she can be kept this way," he said.

Body never found

A crowd of more than 50 people gathered at the shore and saw the tail of Bluebird, emblazoned with a Union Jack, float to the surface aided by four orange air bags.

Campbell's widow Tonia Bern-Campbell flew from her home in America to witness the occasion.

Donald Campbell was trying to break his own water speed record of 276mph (429.87 km/h) on 4 January 1967, when the boat vaulted from the lake's surface.

It somersaulted repeatedly before crashing and sinking.

His body was never found and no remains have been discovered in the wreckage.

The Bluebird was discovered by enthusiasts late last year after a four-year hunt.

There were reportedly divisions among Campbell's family over whether it should be raised from its resting place.

Some family members wanted it left as a memorial to him.

The future of Bluebird is yet to be decided but she could be restored and put on display as a tribute to Donald Campbell.

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Remains of Bluebird being towed from Coniston Water
Bluebird was in Coniston Water for 34 years


In Context
The remains of Donald Campbell were found in Coniston Water a few days later.

Campbell came from a dynasty of speed record breakers.

His father, Sir Malcolm Campbell, set the land speed record in 1935.

In 2000 Sir Malcolm's grandson and Donald's nephew, Don Wales, smashed the British land-speed record for an electrically-powered car.

Donald Campbell is still the only person to have held both land and water speed records at the same time.

In November 2001 Donald Campbell's daughter, Gina, announced she would restore her father's powerboat and sail it on the lake where he died.

But in September 2003, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) turned down a funding application. Three years later a second bid was also rejected.

The Ruskin Museum in Coniston has a display of press cuttings, video footage, and photographs. The museum hopes that Bluebird will be returned to the area, and housed in the museum once it has been restored.

Stories From 8 Mar


 
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