The world wanted to know more about the indomitable Danish sailor
The notice in a Danish newspaper about ”Flying Enterprise’s” problems in the Atlantic was, for the time being, the only thing the world knew about the drama. Headlines talked of the war in Korea and meetings in high politics. But then came the picture of the solitary Danish captain sitting on his listing ship in the Atlantic, waving at a photographer from an English news-paper. They had received a tip about the ’dead’ ship buffeted by the storm after all the passengers had been rescued to the five ships which had carried out the rescue operation to perfection. Over New Year the storm subsided. The hurricane moved further up into the north Atlantic. The sea around the waving Kurt Carlsen was calm.
”I SAT THERE outside the rail and held on with my right hand as I waved at the little sports plane with my left, unsuspecting of what my waving would cause.” Kurt Carlsen smiles, pensively… Another pipe and more tobacco from the cupboard is needed before the story can continue. The many pictures on the table and the 16 mm film made by the US Navy give photographer Jørgen Flemming and myself a wonderful, almost devout sensation of wit- nessing something big, a completely unique performance, which is what it turned out to be. It was Kurt Carlsen’s only account to the press of his life before, during and after the 13 days and nights which altered the captain’s life for many years to come.
AGNES brought in coffee and home-made cake on a tray. She had been watching the showing closely and listening carefully to the story of what had happened in the individual pictures and what was written in the hundreds of newspaper clippings which, like an epic Babylonian poem, were gathered in several scrapbooks. Or, as Admiral Boone, commander-in-chief of the American armed forces in the eastern Atlantic said,”This story reads like a heroic saga!” News tickers in bureaus all over the world were suddenly busy. The period between Christmas and New Year is normally comparable to the summer silly season. News isn’t usually lining up to be sent to news rooms, which generally are just on the back burner.
”Paris Presse” wrote, ”One wishes one was Danish and a descendant of the Vikings to experience the justifiable pride of Captain Carlsen’s countrymen.” The magazine went on to say, ”Millions of Englishmen, Americans and Frenchmen see the hard and healthy laws of the sea explained. They learn that real life is more exciting than cartoons about Tarzan. This has been an unforgettable demonstration of professional honor and courage.