Crew OK After Irish Reality TV Ship Crash
Fri Jun 13,11:01 PM ET
By SHAWN POGATCHNIK, Associated Press Writer
BELFAST, Northern Ireland - A ship carrying the cast of an Irish reality TV show crashed into rocks and broke apart Friday, but a producer pledged the show would go on.
The vessel left Dublin June 3 to sail around Ireland for two months for the program "Cabin Fever." Each week, one contestant would be kicked off in response to viewers' votes.
But the two-masted schooner Cabin Fever I struck rocks Friday afternoon off Ireland's northwest coast. The cast and crew were rescued by a helicopter and lifeboat.
"It is very sad. It does bring a tear to your eye. But our contestants are safe," said Stuart Switzer, a Coco Television Productions producer responsible for the program, speaking by telephone from the remote scene.
Within hours, the pounding surf left much of the vessel in ruins.
"The back of the boat has broken. It is actually in two pieces, and the waves are knocking the planks and timber around," Switzer said.
"This show will go on," Switzer vowed. "We're not sure how yet, but it will go on."
The next episodes of "Cabin Fever" were scheduled for broadcast Sunday and Monday nights on RTE, the state-owned network in the Republic of Ireland.
Politicians criticized the program as irresponsible. Barry Andrews, a lawmaker from the governing Fianna Fail party, questioned "the wisdom of sending out 10 people with no sailing experience with just two qualified sailors." He said the destruction of the ship "shows that so-called reality television has gone too far, with people being asked to carry out challenges that are too dangerous."
The first hour-long episode was broadcast Sunday, followed by a live episode Monday when the first contestant was ejected. The remaining nine were competing for a $117,000 prize.