Europe storms: Ships collide off Dutch coast; crew evacuated
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Rescue helicopters evacuated all 18 crew members from a ship that was left drifting rudderless in a wind turbine park off the Dutch North Sea coast Monday after it collided with another ship and began taking on water during a powerful storm, emergency services said.
The collision happened as Storm Corrie lashed parts of the northern Europe. It came after Storm Malik killed at least four people over the weekend, destroying houses, unleashing flooding and leaving thousands of households without electricity.
A freighter called the Julietta D collided with another boat about 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of the port of Ijmuiden, said Edward Zwitser, a spokesman for the Royal Dutch Lifeboat Company. The other boat, the Pechora Star, also was damaged, but was able to continue its voyage.
The Dutch coast guard said that all crew members were rescued. It didn’t immediately provide more details of the rescue on the high seas amid powerful winds. Dutch television showed the rescued crew arriving in a helicopter at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.
Three helicopters, including one from Belgium, were involved in the rescue operation.
The Juliette D suffered damage “that poses direct danger for the 18 crew on board,” spokesman Edward Zwitser told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
Both ships had been anchored off the coast, but the Julietta D’s anchor “did not hold,” the coast guard said.
Hours later, with winds easing in the Netherlands, the Julietta D was still drifting and the coast guard said efforts were underway to attach a line to a tugboat so that the vessel could be towed to safety.
Thousands of homes in the Nordic region remained without power Monday and there were reports of flooding in North Sea and Baltic Sea harbors in the region. The western Netherlands were hard hit Monday morning with powerful gusts uprooting trees and causing traffic problems.
Storm Corrie also hit Scotland late Sunday, hot on the heels of Storm Malik, which left thousands in Scotland and northern England without power as it blew down trees, damaged power lines and ripped roofs off homes.
A nine-year-old boy in the English county of Staffordshire and a 60-year-old woman in the Scottish city of Aberdeen died after trees were torn down on Saturday.
Also over the weekend, Danish media reported that a 78-year-old woman died from severe injuries after falling in strong winds. In neighboring Germany, local media reported that a man was killed on Saturday after being hit by a billboard that was loosened by the storm.