Swedish Freighter Capsizes in the Baltic Sea

The crew was forced to jump overboard


Swedish rescue officials announced that they have managed to rescue 13 out of the 14 member crew, made up of 10 people from the Philippines and four from Sweden, of the 500-foot long Finnbirch Swedish freighter, which capsized and sank in the Baltic Sea on Wednesday, forcing them to jump overboard into the freezing waters in order to save themselves.

According to one of the spokesmen of the rescue teams, Peter Lindquist, the ship, which went down following a very powerful storm that has been battering parts of Scandinavia for some time, was located between the Swedish islands of Gotland and Oland when it suffered the terrible accident. The vessel was performing a journey from Finland and Denmark.

Lindquist added that the rescue helicopters had actually arrived at the scene before the ship began to sink and the crew jumped but they could not draw near to the vessel, given the extremely bad weather conditions. Thus, they waited for the men to jump in order to pluck them out. "We've got poor visibility, storm winds and high waves. Hoisting under such circumstances is not risk free", he declared.

As far as the fourteenth member of the crew was concerned, helicopters searched for him till late Wednesday night yet he was not to be found. According to Manuel Tomar, a spokesman for the rescue services, the remaining 13 were rushed to a hospital in the city of Kalmar, in order to receive emergency treatment for their hypothermia.

Swedish officials highlighted that the terrible storm, with winds of up to 97 mph, snow and heavy rain, has already affected road, ferry and train traffic to a large extent. The authorities reported that no less than 50,000 people, located in southern and central parts of the country, suffered power outages, while bus lines in Stockholm have already been cancelled given the ice on the pavement. "It's a complete standstill everywhere. We've got accidents and cars with summer tires that can't move", Stockholm police spokesman, Ulf Andersson, complained.


By    2 Nov 2006, 10:12 GMT