Several people have been taken to hospital after fire broke out on board Saturday night’s Newcastle to IJmuiden ferry.
Six people – two passengers and four crew – were airlifted to hospital by British army helicopters with smoke-related injuries. Several others were treated on board.
The fire started a couple of hours after the DFDS ferry left the northern English port and was extinguished within 15 minutes, a company spokesman said. The ferry later returned to the port.
The 1,000 plus people on board were ordered to remain on the ship to await police questioning. According to some reports, one person has been detained in connection with the fire.
Police spokesman Andrew Dixon told the BBC the coastguard had contacted them around 23.00 local time and said a passenger was ‘believed to have set fire to a cabin’.
‘As a result of this incident, the person suspected of causing the fire, or the person from the cabin where the fire occurred – be it deliberate or accidental – has been detained by ship staff,’ he told the broadcaster.
One Dutch eye witness told the BBC: ‘There was a lot of smoke. You could smell it.’
It is not yet clear how the passengers now stranded in Newcastle are to reach the Netherlands or how today’s IJmuiden-Newcastle service will operate, Nos television said.
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