Rescue drama after North Sea ferry sailing from Newcastle hit by fire

The Northern Echo: RAF rescue helicopters airlifted people from the ferry RAF rescue helicopters airlifted people from the ferry

Police are questioning passengers on board a ferry after a fire in a cabin room sparked an emergency rescue and forced it to return to Newcastle.

Two crew members and four passengers had to be winched off the North Sea ferry after they breathed in smoke when the fire broke out 30 miles from land around 11pm last night.

Gert Jakobsen, a spokesman for ferry operator DFDS Seaways, said police are now in control of the King Seaways cruise ferry and speaking with passengers and crew about the incident.

A passenger suspected of starting the fire was detained on board by ship staff while it sailed back to the Tyneside port this morning, police said.

Mr Jakobsen said he hopes the 946 passengers who were on their way to Amsterdam will be able to leave the ship shortly.

The ship has arrived back in Newcastle and police are now on board and in control of it, he said.

They are investigating the cause of the fire and speaking with senior crew members as well as passengers who were close to the incident.

For this reason the passengers are not allowed to leave the ship.

We hope they will be able to leave very shortly, around 8am.

However, he added that the ferry would not be continuing its journey and instead will wait till its next scheduled departure to Amsterdam tomorrow morning.

The fire broke out in a passenger cabin around 10.45pm and was extinguished by 11pm.

RAF helicopters from Leconfield near Hull and Boulmer, Northumberland were scrambled to the vessel along with RNLI lifeboats from Bridlington and Filey.

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