Attempts to rescue the crew of a capsized French dredger three miles (5 km) out at sea from Calais continued into Thursday (11th October 1973) night.
Attempts to rescue the crew of a capsized French dredger three miles (5 km) out at sea from Calais continued into Thursday (11th October 1973) night. Frogmen drilled holes in its hull after voices were heard inside calling for help. A small hole ensured fresh air for the survivors and the divers were working to enlarge another cavity, through which the men could be pulled out. Tugs have towed the vessel aground.
The dredger, the "Cap de la Hague" overturned in high winds and heavy seas at dawn. Only two of the 15-man crew have been rescued: they were picked up by a British cross-Channel ferry. Five bodies were also recovered, leaving eight men still missing. Five or six of them are believed to be still inside and there are high hopes of saving them.
SYNOPSIS: An attempt to save the lives of five or six seamen trapped in this capsized dredger off the French coast continued throughout Thursday. The dredger, the Cap de la Hague, had overturned in storms at dawn and some of its crew were trapped inside. Of the fifteen originally on board, five bodies have been picked up.
Two men were found and rescued by a British cross-Channel ferry. With eight men unaccounted-for, the rescuers heard a tapping from within the sunken dredger and also faint cries for help.
Frogmen were landed by helicopter on the hull and proceeded to drill holes in it. A small hole ensured a supply of fresh air to the survivors. Then they attempted to cut a larger hole through which the seamen could emerge to safety. Though by nightfall, the frogmen had not achieved this aim, they had high hopes of saving the trapped men. However, there was fear that they were in danger of dying from cold and exposure.
Earlier, tugboats towed the vessel aground to make rescue work easier. High winds and rising seas were making the job difficult.
When it overturned, the dredger was three miles out at sea, off the French coast near the port of Calais.