Leo, 3, rescued after five hours in rock crevice

An outing to a nature spot near Kristianstad in southern Sweden turned into a nightmare for the Högberg family after 3-year-old son Leo fell into a crack in the rock, remaining stuck for five hours before an Irish climber could finally pull him free.

Leo, 3, rescued after five hours in rock crevice

The Högbergs were out walking in the popular hiking area of Kjugekull when Leo suddenly dropped three metres into a tight crevice in the rock, according to media reports.

As night began to close in Leo’s parents, Henrik and Linn Högberg, together with a team of rescuers from the emergency services, battled to free him.

The crack into which Leo fell was only just wide enough to allow a toddler to pass through and thus too small for an adult to descend.

Several attempts to persuade the three-year-old to grab onto a rope in order to help the rescue team pull him free were unsuccessful. On one occasion the boy held the rope but when his head became stuck in the crevice he panicked and let go.

At one stage a young local girl offered to crawl into the cliff into order to help Leo out of his ordeal, but the space proved too small to accommodate her, according to a report in the local Kristianstadsbladet daily.

As the hours passed by, and with temperatures dropping and nightfall approaching, help eventually arrived in the form of a Malmö climber, David Crawley, who was able to dangle upside down, reach Leo’s hand and pull him free.

Crawley, originally from Ireland but currently resident in Malmö, happened to be in the area when he noticed the commotion and offered to help.

“I am pretty slim and could get down headfirst while the emergency services staff held my ankles,” Crawley told the TT news agency.

The experienced climber was able to use a hook to pull the boy by his clothing so that he could grab hold of his hand and bring a happy end to a nightmare day for the Högberg family.

“We are so terribly grateful for the fantastic input of the emergency services and the climber who helped us,” Henrik Högberg said, after his son had been placed into his arms shortly before 4pm, ending a five and half hour ordeal.

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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.