Vintage ship sinks near Hamburg

A 19th Century ship that had only recently undergone an expensive restoration has sunk in Germany after a collision with a container vessel.

Several people aboard the No 5 Elbe schooner were injured in Saturday’s incident on the Elbe River near the northern city of Hamburg. All 43 people onboard were quickly evacuated by rescue nearby boats.

The schooner, built in 1883, is Hamburg’s last seagoing wooden ship. The cause of the collision was around 12:30 GMT on Saturday and is being investigated. “If we hadn’t been in the vicinity there could have been fatalities,” fire service official Wilfried Sprekels told a local newspaper.

Despite all their efforts the schooner sank, but its passengers and crew were rescued. Passenger Almut Koertingsaid that she wanted to thank the crew for their “prudential and sober-minded action before, during and after the terrible crash”. “We have experienced a wonderful, lovingly maintained ship, which beautifully drove us down Elbe River, and then, incredibly enough, still took her people to port in spite of being severely damaged in the collision.”

The 37m (121ft) boat had just recently finished a €1.5m (£1.3m; $1.7m) refit in a Danish shipyard. It’s owners hope to salvage it so it can be rented for harbour excursions.

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