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Göta Canal passenger boat runs aground

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Göta Canal passenger boat runs aground
11:39 CEST+02:00
Passengers from 40 different countries were evacuated to safety on Monday morning after a vessel plying the trans-Sweden Göta Canal ran aground near Oxelösund in eastern Sweden.

The 53 passengers on board the Diana were woken with a start when the mayday was sounded.

"The boat was listing badly and a large number of people were unable to stand on the deck due to the boat's gradient," Göran Johansson at the Swedish sea rescue service said to news agency TT.

Four boats and a helicopter participated in the rescue. All 53 passengers were evacuated to safety and were taken to an assembly point in Oxelösund.

Johansson described the atmosphere as positive, considering the circumstances.

"There was no one that was overly distraught, sure it was a little bewildering and shocking but they were in good spirits."

According to the shipping company the circumstances surrounding the accident remained unclear. A salvage operation is due to commence on Monday afternoon.

"There is no water leaking in but we do not yet know the extent of the damage. We will send down divers before we move her," Martin Hultman at Strömma Göteborg said.

The passengers, many from Canada and Norway, were on board for a four day cruise from Gothenburg to Stockholm and will be compensated, Hultman confirmed.

The Diana was built in 1931 and is the youngest of the Göta Canal shipping firm's three vessels. The boat can accommodate up to 55 passengers and has 28 cabins split over three decks.

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