RIVERDANCE presents a very sad sight aground at Cleveleys on Friday February 01, 2008 being buffeted by the stormy waters of the Irish Sea. RIVERDANCE had been struck by an abnormal wave the previous evening some eight miles off shore when on her regular Warrenpoint to Heysham sailing. This apparently caused the vehicles on board to move and resulted in the ship listing up to 60 degrees at one point as well as power being lost. The winds then caused the ship to drift towards the Fylde coast.
With two RNLI lifeboats deployed, the tanker STEERSMAN standing by and RAF, RN and Irish Coastguard helicopters in attendance the four passengers and nineteen crew were airlifted to safety. Salvage company Smit has been appointed to refloat the vessel.
The mishap strangely coincided with the 55th Anniversary of the loss of the PRINCESS VICTORIA on January 31, 1953. The PRINCESS VICTORIA was the first ro/ro ferry to be lost, foundering off the Northern Ireland coast in stormy conditions and resulting in the loss of 132 lives. Happily though, thanks to modern technology and the prompt arrival of the rescue services everyone was brought ashore safely from RIVERDANCE by helicopter. The therrmal image film shown on the TV giving a good impression of just how bad the conditions were.