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3 ships runs into stormy UK waters

A Royal Air Force helicopter also was sent on Thursday night to remove the seriously injured captain from a freighter off southwest England.

world Updated: Feb 02, 2008 09:06 IST

Gale forces winds and heavy snow lashed some areas of Britain, causing chaos at sea and on roads, and requiring rescue operations that saved scores of people.

Rescue workers airlifted 37 people from two vessels that ran aground off Britain's northwestern coast during the storms on Thursday.

A Royal Air Force helicopter also was sent on Thursday night to remove the seriously injured captain from a freighter off southwest England that lost cargo in rough seas and was partially flooded near Scilly Islands, officials said. But the rescue had to be called off because conditions were too dangerous, officials said.

In northern England, a blizzard left 15 centimeters of snow on roads in County Durham, stranding several hundred vehicles and forcing police to rescue scores of passengers, including the elderly and children.

Early yesterday, helicopters rescued the 14-member Spanish crew of the Spinning Dale trawler on rocks off St Kilda in Scotland's Western Isles, coast guard spokesman Fred Caygill said. Two of the crew were later treated at a British hospital for hypothermia.

The Spaniards were trapped on the rocks under a cliff at St Kilda, an uninhabited volcanic archipelago. The gale- force winds swirling around the cliff made it difficult for a helicopter to approach, Caygill said.

Late Thursday and early yesterday, the coast guard successfully airlifted 23 people off a ferry that ran aground near England's Blackpool beach resort soon after a freak wave left it listing on its side, Caygill said.

The Riverdance ferry ran into trouble Thursday night and three helicopters soon arrived to begin rescuing those on board.

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