Nightly News   |  February 20, 2010

Teens’ high seas term ends in rescue

Sixty-four students and crew floated for nearly two days after a powerful storm sank their boat while it was en route from Brazil to Uruguay. NBC’s Mike Taibbi reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we have an amazing story tonight of a ship wreck off the coast of brazil. more than 40 high school and college students were aboard a tall ship that capsized and sank in high winds about 300 miles from rio de janeiro on wednesday. today everyone on board returned to shore after a dramatic rescue. the story from nbc's mike ti tibbia.

>> reporter: it's a education at seas program from nova skoech ya.

>> it's a high school whose classroom travels around the world.

>> reporter: the tall ship , is a 20-year-old version of a 19th senltary world traveler. only on this trip on wednesday afternoon, a gathering storm unleashed two bursts of rouge wind powerful enough to knock this 188-foot ship on its side. on its way from brazil to uruguay and 300 miles off the coast, it was sinking and it was everyone to the life rafts, 64 students and crew for nearly two days.

>> some he were really, really seasi seasick. it was really rough seas and raining.

>> we thought we were going to die.

>> reporter: no one died because an emergency beacon signaled their position. the life rafts were spotted from the air and they were rescued by friday afternoon. in rio de janeiro , relatives of some of the students almost all of them canadian waited for the rescue ships to arrive. in the movie version of a similar story ridley scott 's " white squall " the students battle the storm at sea. these students, mostly high school students juniors and seniors battled their own storm.

>> everyone is safe. there were only very minor injuries.

>> reporter: you have to think that the tag line for the trip's promotional video.

>> this experience is something that i will never forget.

>> reporter: will forever, for everyone endured a sinking of far at sea and two days of drifting have a totally different meaning. nbc news, new york.

>>> still ahead as we continue,