Thousands of biscuits washed ashore after weekend of gale-force winds wreck ships

Last updated at 18:39 03 February 2008

Thousands of packets of chocolate biscuits were washed ashore this weekend after gale-force winds forced a cargo ship to run aground.

The McVitie's biscuits were being carried on lorries aboard the Riverdance, which ran aground off north shore near Blackpool on Thursday night.

Today, another cargo ship, the Horncliff, ran aground off the coast of Cornwall, and a rescue attempt to airlift a seriously injured captain had to be launched.

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A Royal Navy helicopter from RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall rescued the skipper of the Horncliff after the RAF failed last night in force nine gales.

A Falmouth coastguard spokesman said weather conditions had eased in the area south of Ireland and an attempt to get the captain took place this morning.

"We want to get this guy off and to hospital," the spokesman said.

The injured man will be taken to hospital in Cornwall and not Cork as previously planned.

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The cargo ship was carrying bananas and other fruit from the Caribbean to Dover when it encountered a force 10 storm about 200 miles off southern Ireland yesterday. It lost about 90 containers.

During the storm the captain sustained serious spinal and internal injuries.

Two passengers on board were also less seriously hurt - one with a broken hand and another with head injuries.

It appeared those injured were trying to fasten the containers in the storm.

Last night a Sea King helicopter from RAF Chivenor in Devon, assisted by a Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft from Scotland, spent nearly an hour over the ship trying to get the injured man off.

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But there was a 24ft swell at the time and it proved impossible.

Up to six other people - thought to be passengers - also wanted to leave the ship.

The coastguard said the vessel also suffered some damage and it was listing slightly but there is no danger of it sinking.

Meanwhile the Horncliff is now heading to Falmouth Bay. The other two injured may also be airlifted.

The exact circumstances of how the captain suffered his injuries is unknown.

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