Gothenburg pilot’s wife rides the gamut of emotions

"It felt like there was something to believe in after all. It was almost religious, a miracle," said the wife of one of the pilots from Gothenburg found alive after crashing a small aircraft in icy waters in northern Canada on Sunday.

Martina Wallén Hansen had resigned herself to a life without her husband, Danish pilot Troels Hansen, who had crashed his small aircraft in icy waters near Iqaluit in northern Canada.

Then she received a call from the Swedish foreign ministry to say that her 45-year-old Danish husband and his 25-year-old Australian companion, Oliver Edwards-Neil, had been found alive.

“It feels like I have been wrung through a mangle,” Wallén Hansen said to news agency TT.

Troels Hansen, who lives in Gothenburg with his family, bought the small Cessna Skymaster aircraft in Ohio and together with Edwards-Neil, was planning to fly it home to Sweden.

Early on Monday morning Martina Wallén Hansen heard a knock at the door of her home in the quiet Gothenburg suburb of Mölnycke. Two uniformed police officers informed her that the plane in which her husband had been flying had crashed. There were no signs of life or of the plane.

“It was a shock. Complete denial. All the symptoms that you read about came to the fore, I shook and it felt like I was in another world,” she said to TT.

After a long wait the phone rang at 3.50pm and Wallén Hansen then heard from the foreign ministry that both pilots had been found – alive.

“I had by then already planned for my whole life with the children, how I would survive and take care of them.”

The feelings of shock then returned.

“Everyone screamed and laughed, it became hysterical. We called and told everyone and it felt that there was something to believe in after all. It was almost religious, a miracle.”

She has spoken to her husband, who under the circumstances is feeling very well.

“He is incredibly relieved. They spent 15 hours on the same ice-floe, hopping up and down to stay warm, massaging each other. It was of the utmost importance that they did not fall asleep – they would then have frozen to death.”

Oliver Edwards-Neil said to Sveriges Radio P1 news programme:

“We forced open the door of the plane and climbed out. We saw the rescue team, screamed and waved. But they did not see us and we were shaking terribly from the cold.”

It was not the first time that Troels Hansen had flown the route. He is an experienced pilot and has been flying for many years. The pair are now resting and recuperating and are receiving care in a hospital in Canada.

“They are going to defrost their feet. Here at home we are going to take it easy. It has been a terrible experience and now I am very tired. I had a long list of things to do before Christmas – shopping, decorating, food and presents. Everything has been put aside now. I couldn’t care less about Christmas baubles. Just as long as we get him home everything will work out,” said Martina Wallén Hansen.


Grounded Finland ferry refloated and heading back to port

UPDATE: A ferry that ran aground next to islands between Finland and Sweden with nearly 430 crew and passengers on board, was refloated and heading for port, its owners said Sunday.

Grounded Finland ferry refloated and heading back to port
The Viking Line ship Grace hit rocks in in the Aland archipelago. Photo AFP

The Viking Line's “Grace” hit rocks on Saturday afternoon while sailing between the Finnish port of Turku and the Swedish capital Stockholm, shortly before a stopover in Mariehamn, in the Aland archipelago, Finland's coast guard said.

The passengers had to spend the night on board, though there was no immediate danger as it was not taking on water. No one was hurt in the incident.

A tug boat helped refloat the ferry in the small hours of Sunday morning, the coast guard said on Twitter.

After disembarking around 260 passengers at Mariehamn, it went on to its home port of Turku in Finland, a Viking Line spokeswoman told AFP Sunday. It would undergo repairs in the coming days, she added.

Although the cause of the accident has yet to be established, the coast guard said there were strong winds in the area at the time.

The company cancelled its Saturday ferry service, which was to have been taken by a smaller vessel, because of a storm warning.

In September, another Viking Line ferry, the Amorella, ran aground on the same Aaland Island and the passengers had to be evacuated.