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Canada ferry sinks, all 101 aboard safe-officials

Written by: Staff
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Mar 22 (Reuters) A ferry carrying 101 passengers and crew ran aground and sank in bad weather off Canada's Pacific coast just after midnight today, but all aboard are believed safe, officials said.

The Queen of the North hit a rock at about 12:43 a.m. Pacific Time near Gil Island, about 75 miles south of Prince Rupert, and not far from the village of Hartley Bay, which sent fishing boats to help with the rescue.

All 59 passengers and 42 crew members were able to get into life boats and escape the sinking ship, said BC Ferries Corp., a provincially-owned company.

No serious injuries were reported. Initial reports had said 102 people were aboard the ship.

A Canadian Coast Guard boat was on patrol in the area and was quickly able to respond to the ferry's distress call, officials said.

The ferry, which was on a journey from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy, can hold up to 700 people and 115 cars. The rescued passengers were expected to be transported to Prince Rupert.

REUTERS PG KN2151

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