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News Item from U.K. Daily Express

THE NAVY SAVES 64 IN WRECK

Express Staff Reporter

News Item from U.K. Daily Express

THE NAVY SAVES 64 IN WRECK

Express Staff Reporter

HONGKONG, Sunday. — After a night-long rescue operation in heavy seas, the British frigate Alert early today saved 64 men of the 2,284-ton Hongkong ship Taikinshan. Nine are missing.

The Taikinshan went aground on a reef in the Paracel Islands 350 miles south of Hongkong, on Thursday.

Heavy seas battered her. She slewed over on the reef and broke her back.

TUG ON WAY

The nine missing, all believed drowned, were Chinese. The Taikinshan’s two white officers, Canadian-born Captain Robert Wherry, St.John, New Brunswick, and Chief Officer E. Fransson, a Swede, are safely aboard the Alert.

The tug Prince Salvor left Hongkong for the Paracels yesterday to bring back the Taikinshan men.

Vice-Admiral Sir Guy Russell Commander – in - Chief Far East Station is in Alert, on his way to pay a courtesy call at Saigon, French Indo-China.

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News Item from Singapore Straits Times

Rescue Of 64 Taikinshan Survivors Told

Standard Staff Reporter

Another sea saga in which the highest traditions of the British Navy were gallantly upheld reached its conclusion yesterday when the C-in-C, Far Eastern Fleet, Vice Admiral Sir Guy Russell’s Despatch Vessel, H.M.S Alert, arrived at Singapore Naval Base after dramatically rescuing 64 survivors of the 1,432-ton British freighter, Taikinshan, now a total wreck on the Paracel Reefs.

En route from Hongkong to Saigon with Vice Admiral Sir Guy Russell on board, who was on his way to attend a conference with Vietnam Chief of State, Bao Dai, H.M.S. Alert was diverted to answer the Taikinshan’s calls for help and made a dramatic 160-mile dash to the stricken vessel last Friday.

Yesterday in Singapore, Lieut. – Commander G.F. Davies, who was in charge of the Alert’s motor cutter in which the final rescue operations were carried out, said that attempts were first made to shoot and float lines from the Alert to the Taikinshan. Despite oil pumped on the water rough seas and the risk of wrecking the Alert, however, foiled this plan.

"Next morning a lifeboat was sighted in the lagoon formed by the reef," said Lieut. Commander Davies, "and we at once went to the south-west corner of the reef where there is a shallow passage through the coral."

"The warship’s motor cutter was manned and lowered and in four trips, the Master, Chief Officer and 39 crew members of the Taikinshan were brought off this lifeboat to the Alert."

From these survivors, it was learned another lifeboat had been launched but had been smashed by the seas. Some of its survivors had clambered back aboard the Taikinshan.

"A rescue party of ten from the Alert and the Chief Officer of the Taikinshan was quickly formed and set out in the motor cutter with the lifeboat in tow across the lagoon towards the wreck."

"After many difficulties, a line attached to a raft was fired on to the wreck. The survivors hauled the raft to the wreck and in six trips back and forth a total of 23 men were brought off on the raft. These were taken to the Alert in the motor cutter and with the other survivors transferred to the Hongkong tug Prince Salvor on Monday."

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Copyright Frank Waterfield 2003
Last update May 20, 2003