Film crew rescued from Royal Navy ship

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The Independent US

Ten passengers were rescued after a Royal Navy ship lost engine power, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said today.

A flood in the ship's engine room left it without main power and propulsion off the coast of Chile.

The passengers - members of a British film crew - were taken off the Royal Navy Antarctic patrol ship HMS Endurance by a Chilean Navy puma helicopter as a precaution, the MoD said,

They were transferred to the nearby Felix navy lighthouse while a Chilean navy tugboat and a helicopter headed to help the HMS Endurance.

One minor injury was reported.

The Chilean tugboat Pudu was preparing to tow the Endurance to Punta Arenas, Chile's southernmost city if necessary.

The Norwegian Sun cruiser also sailed towards the stricken ship and was ready to offer help to the 122 people who remained on board, 14 of whom were civilians.

Endurance lost engine power at the eastern mouth of the straits of Magellan.

An MoD spokesman said: "The flooding has now been contained and the ship is currently being held in safe water by her anchor in the Strait of Magellan.

"Our top priority is the safety of those onboard. Royal Navy personnel are highly trained in emergency incidents and are well equipped to deal with the situation.

"The crew recently underwent an intensive period of training prior to deployment."

An investigation is under way into the exact cause of the incident.

Next of kin were being informed of the situation, the MoD added, and a helpline was set up for concerned relatives.

The ship's mission is to patrol and survey the Antarctic and South Atlantic, where it spends seven months of the year.

Its base port is Portsmouth, which is also the ship's affiliated town.

* The helpline for relatives seeking further information is 08457 800 900.

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