Passengers removed after ferry pulled from shoal in Calais


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PARIS (AP) — Authorities evacuated a ferry carrying 313 people that ran aground Sunday at the French port city of Calais, interrupting boat traffic across the English Channel.

A towing operation, aided by a rising tide, managed to unstick the ferry from a pebble bank it struck just after noon during bad weather conditions that included strong winds.

Six hours later, passengers from the Dover-bound Pride of Kent started disembarking the vessel when it was pulled to a nearby dock, authorities said.

The Pas-de-Calais prefecture, or administration, said no injuries were reported.

P&O Ferries confirmed that one of its ferries ran aground and said it hoped "to transfer our passengers to an alternative ship as soon as possible."

The prefecture said the evacuation was completed Sunday evening and traffic had resumed between France and Britain. Some 60 people were being housed in hotels in the area while the others were being transported across the Channel, it said.

Storms also knocked out electricity to 15,000 households in the Pas-de-Calais region and an adjacent region.

The national weather warning agency Meteo France had 32 French departments under hazard alerts due to intense weather over the weekend.

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