Classic Irish sail training vessel abandoned

The Irish sail training vessel Asgard II has sunk 20 miles off the coast of France in the Bay of Biscay.

The ship was lost at 8.25 local time, 20 miles south-west of Belle-Île. Asgard II had earlier been abandoned after taking water overnight. She had been heading from Falmouth to La Rochelle for some minor maintenance. On board were five crew and 20 trainees.

All crew and trainees took to life-rafts, and have been rescued safely by a French coastguard vessel. They were taken to a hotel on the nearby island of Belle-Île.

A spokesperson from the Irish Department of Defence said the Asgard had water up to its decks, but had not yet sunk. Commandant Fergal Purcell of the Defence Forces says it was too early to know whether the Asgard could be recovered.

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