49 Oil Workers From 'Hotel' Rig Rescued at Sea

From Reuters

All 49 crewmen who abandoned a Norwegian "floating hotel" for oil workers after it broke adrift in the North Sea were plucked from raging seas early Tuesday.

"At 3 a.m., the commander of the platform decided to evacuate because it was listing heavily and taking in a lot of water," Danish coast guard officer Sven Voxtorp said.

"At 3:09, all 49 tied themselves together in groups of six and jumped into the water, where they were picked up by five ships," Voxtorp said. "Five helicopters were alerted and were airborne during the operation."

A helicopter flew one unidentified crewman to a hospital in Esbjerg on the west Danish coast with slight chest injuries, and the others were heading for Esbjerg by ship, he said.

The accommodation platform, which had been drifting southeast after breaking a towline Monday morning, had capsized and was stationary 47 miles west of the German island of Sylt, off the Danish-German border. It was not clear if the platform was aground or held by an anchor, Voxtorp said.

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