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Catamaran crew almost unscathed after Canary Island ferry collision
THREE people have suffered minor injuries after a passenger ferry and a private yacht collided in the sea north of Gran Canaria at about 16.30 this afternoon (Thursday).
The Alborán fast ferry, part of the Naviera Armas fleet, was covering its regular route from the Canary Islands' two provincial capital cities, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, with 129 passengers and 21 crew members on board at the time.
None of them were injured and did not suffer any damage to their vehicles or personal effects.
At first, the Alborán crew believed they had crashed into a container, although the captain says he noticed what looked like pieces of junk in front of the ferry when he was too close to swerve around them as the ship was travelling at the standard speed of 38 knots, or 70 kilometres per hour.
He could not avoid sailing straight over the apparent obstacle, and said he felt a 'bump' against the hull.
A ferry passenger, lorry driver Bartolomé Melián, said he and other travellers rushed onto the deck to see what had happened when they felt the impact at roughly nine kilometres out to sea off the coast of Bañaderos, and saw a small catamaran and a container floating with a person on top of them.
Coastgard officials were called and sent out three boats and a helicopter, where they saw two people floating and another clinging to the broken-up catamaran.
All three were rescued, and confirmed nobody else had been on board at the time.
One was unscathed, another had minor wounds and a third had a mild case of hypothermia,
They were all air-lifted to Las Palmas' Dr Negrín Hospital for check-ups, and later discharged.
Of the ferry passengers, only one – a woman who suffered a panic attack – needed medical treatment.
Port authorities and Naviera Armas have opened an inquiry to find out how the collision occurred.
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