DIGGER LATEST: “I could have that out in under four hours”

As the saga of the digger stuck in the sea off Worthing beach continues, one company has come forward to say they could get the machine back to shore in less than four hours.

What’s more, they want to drive it out.

The partially-submerged digger off the coast of Worthing beach, captured by a Phantom drone. Picture: Whitey

The partially-submerged digger off the coast of Worthing beach, captured by a Phantom drone. Picture: Whitey

The elevator excavator, which was being used in the construction of the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, has been stuck in the sea since Tuesday.

Richard Tully, managing director of exavactor repair specialist Atlas Technical Services, said: “If they just left me to it I could have that out of the sea in under four hours.

“It is the environmental policy that is going to delay it,” he added.

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According to Richard, the digger could be salvaged by bringing a power pack out to it in a boat and connecting it up.

The digger, which is designed to operate in water, could then be driven back to shore.

He added: “I would literally connect my cable up to it and power that machine out of the sea.”

Watch the video above to see Richard’s company using a power pack to move a similar excavator that could no longer move by itself.

“We can do everything from above as long as there is no damage to everything below the water, which there won’t be.”

Richard said the operation would cost somewhere in the region of £85,000.

While he says it is not a cheap job, he added £85,000 is considerably less than the cost of hiring a crane barge, salvage crews and divers to to the job.

“We are specialists in moving dead excavators right up to 2000 tonnes.

“I have just come back from Kazakhstan from an 850-tonne Hitachi,” he added.

Richard added that there was a similar case in Hastings in 2001: “It was exactly the same. The excavator had been in the sea too long and its coupling seized up.”

His company connected it up to power and drove it out of the water.

“It’s what we do,” he said.

Video credit: Atlas Technical Services