Spanish boat breaks in two off French coast

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Cargo vessel slams into dyke after 'complete electrical breakdown' in high winds and strong seas off Anglet near Bayonne on Atlantic coast.

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A Spanish cargo ship slammed into a dyke and split in two near the French port of Bayonne on Wednesday as wild weather lashed Europe's Atlantic coasts, reports AFP.

The local mayor's office said the boat, carrying 11 sailors, had crashed into the dyke amid heavy seas near the town of Anglet on its way to Bayonne in southwestern France.

The prefecture for the Pyrenees-Atlantiques region said it had suffered a "complete electrical breakdown".

It said the sailors were evacuated by helicopter in a rescue operation made difficult by lashing winds of up to 110 kilometres (70 miles) an hour.

Officials said a fuel leak had been detected and an emergency plan known as Polmar had been activated to deal with maritime pollution.

But Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier, who rushed to the scene, said there was probably no risk "of massive pollution".

Read more of this AFP report published by Google.com.

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