Huge blocks of ice, moving dangerously along the River Danube in Serbia are crushing and sinking dozens of boats, floating restaurants and pontoons in Belgrade on Monday and Tuesday, many others stuck in thick ice are being carried downstream.
Temperatures in Serbia have risen sharply from minus 20c (minus 4F) last week to +10C (50F) on Sunday, thawing out packed ice more than 30 cms (11 inches) thick, after weeks of freezing weather that has affected most of Europe. According to a Reuters report, those wealthy enough to own boats at the Kapetanija marina in Belgrade's swanky Zemun district, were frantically trying to winch their boats and pontoons from the rapidly thawing river.
More than 20 people have died from the recent cold spell experienced across eastern Europe and it could cost Serbia around 500 million euros ($300m) in ice-related damage to an economy already suffering the effects of the euro zone crisis.
Debris and flotsam is being scattered among the breaking ice for more than a mile (1.6km) along the river and several floating restaurants, barges and boats were being ripped from their moorings and banked on riverbeds as fast moving ice snaps anchor lines, reports Gulf Daily News.
The Danube flows for 1,777 miles through nine countries and is vital for industry and maintaining power infrastructure but until Sunday it has been almost entirely frozen from Austria all the way to the Black Sea, reports the BBC.
Local Belgrade media have reported no threat of flooding, no danger to bridges or other infrastructure in the city.