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Disaster averted

23 cruise passengers rescued after local boat sinks

Locally hired vessel operating in Greenland’s Ilulissat Icefjord struck something in water before sinking, investigators say

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Police in Greenland are investigating the cause of an accident on Sunday that resulted in the sinking of a boat carrying 23 cruise-ship passengers and three crew members.

Everyone on board the locally hired power boat was rescued by nearby local boats, as well as by inflatable boats belonging to their cruise ship, the L’Austral, which was located some 100 metres away.

“Eveyone was saved and they are doing okay. All of the passengers are back on their ship,” Sebastian Bech, the acting police commissioner in Ilulissat, said.

The cause of the incident, which took place at about 1am on Sunday morning in Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland’s most-visited tourist destination, remains unknown.  

SEE RELATED: Quick action prevented serious tour-boat accident

Investigators, however, say no other vessel was involved, and that the boat either struck something in the water or was struck.

The L’Austral is a French-flagged luxury ship launched in 2011 and operated by Compagnie du Ponant. It has a capacity of 264 passengers and 140 crewmembers.

*An earlier version of this story stated that the vessel involved was reported to have been of the make Targa. Since we have not are able to independently confirm the type of boat, the information has been left out. Sorry.

Photo: Jens Ole Thomassen