Liner strikes ice, takes on water off Antarctica; all 154 passengers, crew rescued

first_imgBUENOS AIRES, Argentina – A Canadian cruise ship struck submerged ice off Antarctica and began taking on water, but all 154 passengers and crew, Americans and Britons among them, took to lifeboats Friday and were plucked to safety by a passing cruise ship. No injuries were reported, although passengers reportedly endured subfreezing temperatures for several hours as they waited in bobbing lifeboats for a Norwegian liner that took them to a Chilean military base in the region. “The ship ran into some ice. It was submerged ice and the result was a hole about the size of a fist in the side of the hull so it began taking on water … but quite slowly,” said Susan Hayes of G.A.P. Adventures of Toronto, which owns the stricken MS Explorer. “The passengers are absolutely fine. They’re all accounted for, no injuries whatsoever.” Hours after the pre-dawn accident near Antarctica’s South Shetland Islands, Chilean aerial photographs showed the ship listing heavily, its white superstructure and red hull starkly visible against the gray, choppy waters and overcast skies. Argentina’s coast guard said it was in danger of sinking. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsHayes said 91 passengers had been aboard, including at least 23 Britons, 17 Dutch, 13 Americans and 10 Canadians. The ship also carried nine expedition staff members and a crew of 54. The group calmly abandoned ship when the captain’s order came and pumps helped keep the ship stable for an orderly evacuation, Hayes said. Arnvid Hansen, captain of the Norwegian liner Nordnorge, said his ship ferried the passengers and crew to a Chilean air force base on King George Island in Antarctic waters near southernmost South America. “The rescue operation ran very smoothly,” the 54-year-old captain told The Associated Press by shipboard telephone from the Nordnorge. G.A.P Adventures is a tour company that provides excursions with an environmental focus. The Explorer was on a 19-day circuit of Antarctica and the Falkland Islands.last_img

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