12 Americans rescued from Senegalese island

August 29, 2011 - 8:35 PM

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — A group of Americans including several United States Embassy employees were forced to spend the night in their swimsuits on a deserted island off Senegal's coast this weekend after the ocean became too turbulent for their boat to cross, a military spokesman said Monday.

The 12 people, including a group of four women and a private party from the U.S. Embassy, had to be rescued by Senegal's air force from the island which is visible from the coastal capital of Dakar.

They became stranded on Ile de Madeleine on Saturday when the waves became too large for their small fishing vessels to leave the island's cove, said spokesman Col. Abdourahim Kebe.

Kebe said a second fisherman's boat that attempted to enter the cove to rescue them Saturday overturned in the violent waves. Its Senegalese driver was knocked unconscious.

They were left to huddle in their bathing suits and flimsy summer wear, covered only with their wet towels as night fell. Kebe said the helicopter arrived to rescue them on Sunday morning.

(This version CORRECTS that first boat was sent by fishermen)