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Brutal Waves Tear Cargo Ship In Half Off French Coast

Image: A helicopter lowers a rescue worker toward a Spanish cargo ship
A helicopter lowers a rescue worker toward a Spanish cargo ship that slammed into a jetty in choppy Atlantic Ocean waters off Anglet, southwestern France, on Wednesday. Bob Edme / AP

A cargo ship was torn in half Wednesday after rough seas smashed it against a sea wall on the French Atlantic Coast.

Two helicopters airlifted the dozen crew to safety from the 330-foot Spanish vessel, The Luno, which succumbed to the brutal weather when its engines failed near the town of Anglet, officials said.

Image: A police officer watches a Spanish cargo ship that slammed into a jetty
A police officer watches a Spanish cargo ship that slammed into a jetty in choppy Atlantic Ocean waters and broke in two, off Anglet, southwestern France, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. The ship had been heading to a nearby port to load up with cargo when its engine failed and the rough waves carried it into the jetty. Bob Edme / AP

Authorities in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques region were forced to launch an emergency mission to stop environmental damage because although the ship was empty of cargo it did contain some oil, European news website The Local reported.

Helicopter Airlifts Shipwrecked Crew to Safety 0:28

The BBC said that one of the crew members sustained a broken nose in the rescue operation.

Image: A helicopter lowers a rescue worker toward Spanish cargo ship The Luno which slammed into a jetty
A helicopter lowers a rescue worker toward a Spanish cargo ship the Luno that slammed into a jetty in choppy Atlantic Ocean waters off Anglet, southwestern France, Wednesday Feb. 5, 2014. The ship had been heading to a nearby port to load up with cargo when its engine failed and the rough waves carried it into the jetty. Bob Edme / AP

Photos showed rescue crews being airlifted onto the stricken vessel in a mission which officials said was hampered by winds of up to 70 miles per hour.