Yesterday I posted a story on an Antarctic cruise ship that sunk over the weekend after striking ice in the South Polar Seas. The ship was on a 19 day whale and penguin watching cruise near the Falkland Islands and Antarctica itself when it hit an iceberg and 90 minutes later began to take on water. The passengers and crew were forced to abandon ship by climbing aboard the life rafts. Six hours later, all 154 people were rescued.
As it turns out, the first ship on the scene was the National Geographic Endeavour, which was also cruising the South Polar Seas at the time. Jon Bowermaster, a National Geographic Society Expeditions Council grantee was aboard the Endeavour when it came to the end of the Explorer. Jon provides his first hand account of what happened for NationalGeographic.com today.
Jon not only tells the story of how the passengers and crew were rescued from the frigid Antarctic waters, but how he felt seeing the Explorer, a ship not unlike the one he was on, slowly sinking into the sea. He also talks about the survivors, wrapped in thermal blankets, but some lacking gloves, who looked stunned, but relieved to see two ships (the Norwegian cruise ship the Nordnorge arrived at the same time) steaming to their rescue.
This is a very interesting story to me. It brings back tales of the Titanic striking an iceberg and going down on it’s maiden voyage. As I said yesterday, it’s still hard to comprehend that this still happens in our day and age. It’s also a testament to the crews of all the ships involved that no one was seriously hurt in the whole affair. This could have been a lot more tragic, and those involved should be commended for their actions.