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Monday, 17 January, 2000, 09:45 GMT
Crew saved from blazing trawler

Crew members The crew of the Ross Alcedo relax after their ordeal


The 15 crew members of a Spanish trawler have been rescued after they were forced to abandon ship when fire swept the vessel off the coast of Cornwall.

The crew of the 32-metre Ross Alcedo told coastguards they were taking to liferafts after the blaze reached the ship's wheelhouse.

Skipper Eugene Rutter, from Fraserburgh, broadcast a mayday that the trawler was on fire 50 miles north west of Land's End at 0230 GMT on Sunday.

Helicopters scrambled

Falmouth Coastguard launched St Mary's lifeboat from the Isles of Scilly while two rescue helicopters were scrambled.

A passing Cypriot freighter, Cruise II, diverted course to pick up all 15 men from the liferaft.


Eugene Rutter Eugene Rutter: Praised for his actions
Colin Sturman, district controller of Falmouth Coastguard, said two of the men had suffered smoke inhalation and burns.

They were airlifted to Treliske Hospital in Truro while the rest were taken to the local Fisherman's Mission at Culdrose.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has been informed.

Falmouth Coastguard watch manager Gerry Wood praised the professionalism of the skipper, who was the last man to board the liferaft.

Last out of liferaft

"When the crew were eventually rescued he was also the last person to get out of the liferaft," he said.

"He's a very brave man and a very competent sailor by the sound of it."

A third member of the crew was taken to Treliske Hospital with a suspected broken finger, coastguards said.

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See also:
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14 Jan 00 |  Scotland
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