Azores ferry drama
The Daily Mail reports that 70 passengers had to be dramatically rescued after the passenger ferry Mestre Simao ran aground at entrance to Madalena port on popular Portuguese holiday island of Pico in the Azores yesterday. The 300 capacity ship, operated by Atlantico Line, was travelling from Horta on the island of Faial, another of the nine islands that make up the Azores archipelago north west of Madeira, roughly 1600 kilometres from mainland Portugal.
The alarm was sounded at 9.30am when the ferry was pushed towards rocks and water began seeping into the ship after the hull was badly damaged. Wetahe conditions in the area are believed to have been poor.The 61 passengers and nine crew were evacuated from the stricken ship using a raft that was towed to shore by a semi-inflatable dinghy. Coastguards and marine police were immediately mobilised and ambulances put on standby. The rescue operation lasted around 30 minutes.