Last Saturday, June 8th, the Historic Schooner, The No. 5 Elbe, collided with a container ship on the Elbe River. The schooner, originally built in 1883 as a pilot vessel, sank after being moved to a nearby estuary where it now lays partially submerged.
Luckily firefighters and first responders were responding to a nearby emergency at the time of the collision and were able to rapidly respond to the incident rescuing the 43 people on board, sending the injured to local hospitals.
New video has emerged that shows the moments before the incident unfold. You can see the two vessels on a collision course as a crew member races back to give five short blasts on the horn. When collision seems imminent, there is a call that sounds like "hard to port," however, it is hard to discern. The crew and passengers instead push the tiller hard to port, causing the ship to turn into the collision course, resulting in the collision of the two vessels.
Nine people were injured in the collision, one seriously.
On top of the human tragedy is the lesser tragedy of the loss of the No. 5 Elbe schooner. The schooner was the oldest fully wooden ship of its home port of Hamburg, Germany. The No. 5 Elbe had just completed an extensive restoration, having been relaunched mere days before the accident.
CNN reported that German Radio Station NDR had interviewed Wolfgang Bentz, who participated in the restoration and believes the No. 5 Elbe could fill her sails again. Bentz told the radio station, "It's made of wood and had some damage before, let's see what further damage is added in the rescue effort."
The Hamburg Maritime Foundation, owners of the No. 5 Elbe released the following statement following the incident: “With great sadness we regret the collision and feel very much with the passengers and members of the ship’s crew who have come to harm. We hope the injuries can be cured quickly.”
The following photos are from Freiwillige Feuerwehr Hansestadt Stade.