Man charged in Britain over North Sea ferry fire

LONDON (AFP) - A man was charged on Monday with causing a fire onboard a ferry carrying more than 1,000 people from Newcastle to Amsterdam, British police said.

Boden George Hughes, 26, was charged with "arson reckless to endangering life" and affray after the fire late on Saturday in a cabin of the DFDS ferry MS King Seaways in the North Sea.

Two Royal Air Force (RAF) search and rescue helicopters and two lifeboats were scrambled and seven people had to be airlifted to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

The ferry was about 50 kilometres off the coast of northeast England at the time, and aborted its journey, returning to Newcastle early on Sunday morning.

Hughes, from Sunderland near Newcastle, will appear in court on Tuesday to be formally charged, Northumbria Police said.

A 28-year-old who was arrested for affray following the incident has been bailed pending further investigation.

Some 946 passengers and 127 crew were on the ferry.