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By Stephen Pullinger, Broads correspondent
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
As police yesterday continued their efforts to piece together the full picture of an increasingly complicated drama, an air of normality had returned to the River Bure.
Enjoying some belated summer sunshine and the last days of the school break, families on cruisers and day boats streamed along one of the busiest stretches of Broads waterways between Wroxham and Horning.
The previous day, the closure of a mile-long stretch of the river from Salhouse Broad towards Wroxham had necessitated truncated pleasure boat tours and frantic itinerary changes for holidaymakers.
But as anglers peacefully fished from the banks near Salhouse yesterday afternoon, the only sign of the tragic events that had unfolded was the presence of a Broads Authority launch and inflatable police craft guarding the spot where the Le Boat cruiser at the centre of the mystery was found late on Saturday.
Cordoned off by police tape, the inlet opposite Salhouse Little Broad on a bend in the river is a popular mooring spot for holidaymakers and fishermen.
Tree trunks and stumps on the vegetated bank provide ready mooring posts for people seeking peace and quiet.
While many boaters, sunning themselves on deck, yesterday appeared relaxed and oblivious to the tragedy, the mood had been very different on Sunday in the tourist honeypots of Hoveton and Horning.
Tom Heaffey, who works at the Ferry Inn, in Horning, helping holidaymakers to moor outside the pub, said: “Weekends are the busy time around here with boat change-overs and we get a lot of people mooring at the pub for meals. They were asking a lot of questions about what was going on but I did not want to distress them by reporting the fact police were looking for bodies in the river.”
Mr Heaffey, who lives in the neighbouring village of Neatishead, said he had felt a real sense of shock in Horning although no one really knew what was happening.
He said he recalled the family’s cruiser stopping at the Ferry Inn some time last week and one of his colleagues thought he had spotted it on Friday, moored at the same place it was found, with a barbecue.
Mr Heaffey said: “I don’t remember too much about them other than the fact they were the normal, friendly people we tend to meet.”
Tobi Baker, the countryside ranger at Salhouse Broad, said the first he knew about any drama was on Sunday morning when he took a call from a colleague telling him the river was being closed.
He said that had stopped their ferry service, taking people from Salhouse Broad to the Hoveton nature trails on the other side of the river.
Mr Baker said the inlet sealed off by police was hidden by the bend so no one could see what was going on.