Holland America cruise ship rescues downed pilot

The pilot was rescued by the ms Veendam cruise ship
The pilot was rescued by the ms Veendam cruise ship

A Holland America cruise ship came to the rescue of a pilot on Sunday, after he was forced to ditch his plane in the seas off Hawaii.

While en route to the Hawaiian town of Lahaina, the crew of the ms Veendam answered a call from the US Coast Guard asking them to rescue a pilot whose single-engine Cirrus SR-22 aircraft had experienced mechanical issues. The pilot had parachuted into the sea.

The ship’s captain changed course to rescue the stricken pilot, who was found approximately 225 nautical miles (417km) off the coast of Maui. He was brought onboard and provided with food and accommodation, before being taken to Lahaina.

“Congratulations to the team on ms Veendam for coming to the aid of the pilot and for working together with the Coast Guard to conduct this successful rescue operation,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America. “January has been an eventful month for our ships with several rescues around the world, and we are honoured to be able to assist in any distress situation when needed.”

This marks the third rescue by a Holland America Line ship in 2015. On 3 January, ms Zuiderdam rescued eight crewmembers from a sinking vessel in the Caribbean, and on 4 January ms Zaandam came to the aid of seven stranded crewmembers at a research station at King George Island in Antarctica.

ms Veendam currently is in the middle of an 18-day Hawaiian cruise from San Diego.

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