A military helicopter has evacuated the crew of a Spanish cargo ship that slammed into a jetty and split in two in choppy Atlantic Ocean waters off southwestern France.
The hold of the 100-metre-long ship, the Luno, was empty when the accident occurred on Wednesday (local time). It happened along the coast of the town of Anglet and a small amount of fuel was spilling into the water, officials said. The ship, which typically carries fertiliser, had been heading to a nearby port to load up with cargo when its engine broke down and the rough waves carried it into the jetty.
The cargo ship's bow half drifted onto the shore, while the stern remained stuck on the rocky jetty. Images on i-Tele cable news channel showed a man dangling from a rescue helicopter as the ship, pinned to the rocks, was ripped asunder by one massive wave.
Veronique Bordenave, a spokeswoman for the regional government, said the 12-man crew was evacuated, and rescue vehicles were on site to provide medical care. Anglet City Hall spox Liane Beobide said one of the crew members had sustained a broken nose, but there were no other injuries reported.
Frederic Cuvillier, France's junior minister for transportation, seas and fishing, was heading to the site, his office said.
Southwestern Europe, including France's western coast, has been battered by high winds and waves in recent days.