12/30/2013 06:08 EST | Updated 03/01/2014 05:59 EST

Tourists plucked from cargo ship tip hat to rescue team


Four travellers who were airlifted from a cargo ship off southeast Newfoundland on Sunday are grateful after the vessel they had boarded for a transatlantic adventure ran into trouble at sea. 

The Swiss-registered MSC Monterey had been travelling from Belgium to New Jersey when a crack was discovered in the ship's hull. 

Richard Kummrow, a Swiss resident, was travelling with his wife and two others, a Belgian and an American when the ship's master issued a distress call, and changed the ship's course to Newfoundland. 

Kummrow said things fell into place quickly. 

"We were taken over in helicopter - it was a great experience, very professional. I loved it," Kummrow told CBC News after he and the three others were flown to Portugal Cove South, a small community near the southern tip of Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula and about 140 km south of St. John's. 

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax dispatched two Cormorant helicopters after receiving the distress call.

The ship is not at risk of sinking. It was anchored until early Monday off Portugal Cove South, with a crew of 20 on board, and was then being escorted to St. Mary's Bay to weather out a winter storm. 

The search and rescue stage is over, and Transport Canada has assumed responsibility for the case. 

Meanwhile, Kummrow said he and his party hope to resume their travels, albeit by air rather than sea. 

"We'll try to get to St. John's and fly out of St. John's if the weather permits, and go on our trip to New York, to Philadelphia and then we fly back home, just like normal people," he said.