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  Cargo ship rams into Denmark’s Great Belt bridge

    vendredi 4 mars 2005

March 04, 2005 08:59 AM

Cargo ship rams into Denmark’s Great Belt bridge

COPENHAGEN (AFP) - A Danish ship rammed into one of the pillars of Copenhagen’s Great Belt bridge, shutting the bridge to all traffic, Danish rail authorities said.

The "M/V Karen Danielsen", sailing under a Bahamian flag, hit the bridge at about 7:30 pm (1830 GMT), injuring two of the Croatian crew members and leaving one missing, according to Danish naval officials.

"It is the most serious accident since the bridge opened in 1998, and one that shouldn’t have happened, as the 3,500-tonne coastal ship should not have passed under it," said a spokesman for the Danish navy’s operational command.

Nine of the 10 Croatian crewmembers were evacuated to land, two with severe injuries, with a helicopter searching for the missing sailor.

The 18-kilometer (11-mile) long Great Belt consists of a suspended bridge, a low bridge, a railway and a railway tunnel. The "M/V Karen Danielsen" hit the bridge at the link between the suspended and the low bridge.

Opened in June 1998, the bridge is a link between the Baltic and the North Sea, the island of Zeeland and the island of Fionie, as well as the Jutland peninsula and the European continent.

The navy spokesman said the ship had a pilot on board, who disembarked before it approached the bridge. Local police had earlier said a fire had broken out aboard the ship. © AFP 2005