Five crew members on board a fishing boat had to jump into the icy waters of the Arctic when their vessel began to sink north of Båtsfjord in Finnmark just before the weekend. All survived following a dramatic rescue effort.
Rescue officials reported that the crew members had to swim to a life raft, one of them without a survival suit, after their boat literally “sank under their feet.” Then they had to float for nearly two hours before a Sea King helicopter spotted them in the darkness and could pluck them up from the choppy seas with swells as high as eight meters (nearly 25-feet). They were flown to Hammerfest and said to be in good shape, but were all taken for medical checks.
Frode Iversen of the search and rescue service in Northern Norway said the crew had sent out a message that the boat was taking in water and they were setting up a pump. “But it wasn’t more than five minutes later that we got word from Vardø Radio that the vessel had sunk,” Iversen told news bureau NTB.
Seven vessels and two helicopters took part in the search for the men, who were found at 5:44am Friday. All five men had been rescued by 6am. “It was stormy, dark and these fishermen had to sit in a life raft for nearly two hours before they could be saved,” the captain of one of the rescue vessels told state broadcaster NRK. “It goes without saying that was not especially fun.” The cause of the accident was unclear.