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RAF downgrades rescue to four in North Sea ferry blaze

An RAF spokesman has said that a call for rescue for a ferry blaze on the North Sea came in at around 10.40pm for RAF assistance, adding that they thought that 23 people would need to be winched to safety after they had breathed in smoke.

But that figure was downgraded to four people, and they were thought to have been lifted off the vessel well within an hour by a crew from RAF Leconfield near Hull.

A second helicopter from RAF Boulmer, Northumberland, was due to arrive around 11.30pm and was expected to stay close to the vessel on stand-by. He said the operation was being co-ordinated by the Humber Coastguard.

Four rescued after ferry blaze on the North Sea

Four people were winched to safety after suffering from smoke inhalation when a fire broke out on a North Sea ferry tonight, an RAF spokesman said.

Two RAF helicopters were scrambled to help injured passengers on the service around 30 miles east of Flamborough Head, near Scarborough.

Squadron Leader Dave Webster said: "The fire seems to have become quite well under control."

Passengers stuck on stranded ferry after door jams

Hundreds of passengers have been forced to remain on a stranded ferry after the ship's doors failed to open when it finally reached a French harbour.

Around 500 people thought their ordeal was over when the Irish Ferries vessel finally docked at Cherbourg after five attempts today - 24 hours later than scheduled - because of rough seas.

But the bow door on the Oscar Wilde jammed as its passengers prepared to leave. The journey was meant to be overnight but ended up taking two days.

An Irish Ferries spokesman said, "Basically those passengers are still on the ship. They haven't been able to get off. There's been a malfunction on the door lock, it's a hydraulic failure that has stopped us from opening it".

Normally in these circumstances a ferry would sail out, turn and reverse in so passengers could alight through the ship's stern - or back - door.

However, as conditions remain dangerous in the English Channel, the ship's captain has been warned against doing this.

Engineers are working on the bow door, but it is not known how long the repairs will take.

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