The cruise ship rescue of 347 passengers and crew members conducted by British forces based in the Falkland Islands was necessary after the cruise ship “Le Boreal” sent a distress call. The “Le Boreal,” which is operated by the French company Ponant, was just north of the Falkland Islands and on its way to South Georgia, a British territory in the South Atlantic, when a major fire broke out in the engine room and the ship was ordered to be abandoned.
As reported by the Deutsche Welle on November 20, the rescue of the cruise ship’s passengers and crew members was necessitated after the fire caused the cruise ship to lose all power and was adrift at sea. A strong northwesterly wind placed the powerless ship in real danger of grounding on Cape Dolphin, East Falkland, and the ship’s crew radioed for urgent assistance.
A video of Wednesday’s dramatic rescue of the cruise ship was released by the British government and can be seen above as well as on YouTube. The video shows how two Royal Air Force Sea King helicopters and two other support helicopters hoisted 79 people from the deck of the cruise ship. Other passengers were lifted from life rafts drifting in the water.
The cruise ship rescue of the 347 passengers and the crew members of the “Le Boreal” was a joint cooperation of forces in the air, in the water, and on land. According to Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, “the swift action taken by Royal Navy and Royal Air Force crews, working with civilian counterparts, saved many lives and prevented this developing into a human tragedy.”