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Archive for Thursday, April 12, 2007

Icebreaker fire forces all off ship

April 12, 2007

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— A raging fire aboard an Argentine navy icebreaker forced all 296 people aboard to abandon ship in the South Atlantic, where they spent hours in lifeboats awaiting rescue by an oil tanker and fishing vessels, the military said Wednesday.

The fire broke out late Tuesday in the auxiliary generator compartment of the Almirante Irizar, and Capt. Guillermo Tarapow ordered all passengers and crew to abandon ship in 24 lifeboats when the flames became uncontrollable.

An oil tanker and two fishing vessels rushed to the area and, within hours, plucked people from most of the lifeboats drifting off the remote Patagonian city of Puerto Madryn, 930 miles south of Buenos Aires. A few rescues had to wait until after daybreak.

Initial reports were that there were no serious injuries or cases of hypothermia.

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