Sunday 4 December 2016

Stricken ship crew back on dry land

Published 31/10/2010 | 13:44

Coastguards say that a group of teenage sailors from Poland are safe after their tall ship was battered by a storm
Coastguards say that a group of teenage sailors from Poland are safe after their tall ship was battered by a storm

Dozens of teenagers and the crew of a stricken tall ship are safely back on dry land after three days stranded in stormy seas off the coast of Britain.

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The Fryderyk Chopin got into difficulties on Friday, 93 miles south west of the Isles of Scilly.

The 180ft long Polish vessel lost its two masts in high winds with 47 people on board including 36 cadets aged between 14 and 16.

The ship is now in Falmouth, Cornwall where the crew disembarked.

One of the crew members, Maljolzata Michalkiewicz, 25, said: "We're very happy to be in Falmouth, if a bit tired. It was a very well conducted rescue. It only took about an hour to an hour and a half before the first boat arrived to help us. It's now been three days of towing.

"All the crew were sent inside the boat, with only the adults on deck trying to fix whatever possible. The cadets were very brave, they spent over three days inside the boat, only allowed outside to use their telephones when the weather was good to let their families know they were OK.

"They've not been put off sailing at all and want to continue their journey, but we don't know yet what chance there is of that.

Ms Michalkiewicz said the captain took every effort to let them know what was happening and that everything was under control, and said the whole way back they had some kind of escort with the possibility to evacuate.

"All the cadets have agreed they don't want to go back home, they're ready to stay here and to take part in the restoration," she added.

The Nova Spiro, a large fishing vessel from Newlyn, Cornwall, began a tow operation on Friday night.

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