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Sunday, 15 October, 2000, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
Ferry passengers and crew rescued
Electron
The vessel became stranded on the abandoned island
Fifteen people have been rescued by helicopter after a ferry ran aground on a remote Scottish island.

The Electron got into difficulties while transporting nine passengers and six crew from St Kilda in severe weather.

It had run aground in the Village Bay inlet on the east coast of the island, 50 miles west of the Outer Hebrides.

Helicopter
A helicopter was scrambled to the scene
Stornoway coastguard was alerted and a rescue helicopter was scrambled and Stornoway lifeboat was also asked to assist.

The helicopter airlifted all 15 people off the vessel and landed them ashore. No-one was injured.

Martin Collins, watch manager at Stornoway coastguard, said: "Thankfully all the passengers and crew are now safe and no injuries have been reported.

"Our concern is now turning to the vessel which is moving around violently in the heavy weather that they are experiencing locally."

There was no indication of damage to the 1,600-tonne vessel but coastguards said there were worries over its cargo.

Environmental concern

It was carrying 45,000 litres of red diesel and 78,000 litres of lubricating oil on board and any leakage could affect puffin and gannet colonies nearby.

He said: "Our Counter Pollution Branch has been informed and we are also in contact with Scottish Natural Heritage who own the island about our next move.

"We are also liaising with the local authority and the relevant Scottish environmental authorities."

St Kilda is a world-renowned nature and bird life haven and has no permanent population. It was evacuated in 1931 when it was considered too precarious for people to continue living on it.

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