The position of seven seamen trapped in a French dredger that overturned in the English Channel was becoming increasingly desperate on Friday (12 October 1973) night.
AERIAL VIEW Upturned dredger & rescue vassals (2 shots)
AERIAL VIEWS Tugs with lines attacked to dredger (3 shots)
SV Helicopter landing with decompression gear
SV Relatives watching
AERIALS Rescue boats, bubbles on surface of water from sunken dredger (3 shots)
"Two lines had been secured to two tugs to try and establish her while the rescue attempt went on. Early his afternoon, the rescue party reported that they could still hear tapping from inside the hull. Three were hopes that as many as seven men might still be alive, surviving from the bubble of air trapped as the airlock was formed when the dredger overturned at eight o'clock yesterday morning. The rescue party had managed to drill a hole through the hull and were pumping air inside. By this time, the men had been trapped for thirty hours. Rescue work had been halted for a while as high tide threatened to cover the keel of the dredger. Some of the ships were actively engaged in the rescue: others were there to try and prevent the swell from disturbing the dredger.
"Decompression chambers had been flown out in case the men were rescued.
"Anxious relatives waited in the crowd that had been there for hours on the quayside. During the afternoon, it was reported that although there were fears that some of the seven trapped men might have died, there was still some hope. But later, as I flew over the scene, it was a very depressing sight. The rescue flotilla was still there, but the hull of the dredger had disappeared. The lines were still attached to the now-sunken dredger. The only evidence was a few bubbles. The sea-water washed over the keel of the boat. But from the air it looked that all hope must now be abandoned."
Initials ESP/0152 ESP/0205
This film is an on-the-spot account of Friday's attempts to rescue the survivors.It contains commentary by B.B.C. reporter Michael Blakey (transcribed overleaf), over clean natural sound.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The position of seven seamen trapped in a French dredger that overturned in the English Channel was becoming increasingly desperate on Friday (12 October 1973) night. High tides were severely tampering the massive rescue effort. Frogmen were unable to achieve their prime objective of drilling a hole in the craft, large enough for the men to emerge through it to safety.
The dredger, the Cap de la Hague, capsized on Thursday three miles (5 kilometres) off Calais in heavy seas. Only two of its ??? of fifteen were picked up alive. Several bodies were recovered and it was only later in the day that faint sounds of tapping and cries for help were heard from within the submerged craft. Frogmen were landed on its hull by helicopter, but managed only to drill a small fresh-air inlet before they were driven off b the heavy seas. Tugboats dragged the dredger around, but on Friday it submerged deeper still and there were grave fears for the lives of the men. Even if they still had enough air, they were in danger of death from exposure.
SYNOPSIS: Hope was fading on Friday evening for the lives of seven seamen trapped inside a submerged French dredger off Calais. It had overturned in storms at dawn on Thursday. Only tow of its crew of fifteen had been picked up. An on-the-sport report of Friday's rescue bid: