A ship is seen on a frozen Danube branch in Calarasi city, 110km east from Bucharest, on February 10, 2012. The river began to ice over in early February as temperatures plunged to minus 20 Celsius. AFP PHOTO/ DANIEL MIHAILESCU
Credit: DANIEL MIHAILESCU

Large blocks of melting ice moving on the Danube in Serbia have crushed hundreds of small boats and several floating restaurants following a sudden weekend thaw, the Associated Press reported.

More from GlobalPost: Danube River freezes for first time in 25 years

Europe's cold weather snap had frozen over much of the Danube, which flows through nine countries, completely blocking it from Austria to the Black Sea.

In the Serbian capital Belgrade, dozens of boats and pontoons were trapped during the "big freeze".

When temperatures last week began rising from from minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit to 50 degrees, massive chunks of ice more than 11 inches thick began to melt and dislodge, Reuters reported.

As the blocks began to float downstream through Belgrade, several boats and other structures were torn from their moorings and carried along with them.

The AP reported that "hundreds of parked boats crashed into each other and several barges were swept away".

Mihailo Svilaric, a boat owner from the Zemun neighborhood, told Reuters :

"We are trying to salvage whatever we can, only a handful of boats remained intact from about a hundred we had in the marina."

GlobalPost in pictures: European cold snap freezes waterways

Traffic was halted on all Belgrade's waterways on February 8 after the ice built up despite the use of icebreakers, Reuters reported.

Following the weekend's sudden melt, debris was scattered among the breaking ice for more than a mile. 

Related Stories

Tagged:
Europe