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Tourist ship runs into nymph cliff

St Goar (Germany), Sept. 28 (Reuters): A German tourist ship ran aground today on the River Rhine near the legendary Loreley cliff, hurting more than 40 people, three seriously.

A police spokesman said three of the more than 40 people injured were seriously hurt when the ship ran onto rocks near the Loreley cliff south of the city of Koblenz, which legend says is home to a beautiful nymph who calls to sailors.

According to legend, in the cracks of the cliff — a steeply rising slate rock on the Rhine — lived dwarfs, nymphs and mountain spirits whose voices are believed to be heard in the echo and gurgle of the river.

It took several hours to evacuate the ship — also called the Loreley — which has a capacity of 500 passengers but was not full at the time of the accident.

Even after the ship was towed away, traffic on the Rhine was still blocked by parts of its engine and the police said it was not certain if the river would be open again today.

Water levels on the Rhine have fallen to record lows in recent weeks, limiting shipping on what is usually Europe’s busiest waterway.

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