Video: Floating sauna rescues occupants of sinking Tesla, in Oslo fjord

“It was a memorable working day,” says the skipper of a floating sauna after rescuing the occupants of a Tesla which’d been driven into a fjord. As the car sunk in the chilly water, the occupants clambered onto its roof until the sauna came by and offered them refuge.

“It was surreal, not exactly what you expect when you are at work. But we managed to act quickly,” sauna skipper Nicholay Nordahl told Norway’s VG.

“One of the guests came running and alerted me that a car had fallen into the water. Then I went full throttle at the people who came climbing out of the car.

“We arrived just as the car went under. With good help from two of the guests we got them up. They warmed up in the sauna.”

Nordahl says the water at this time of year is half a degree.

The Tesla’s driver has since revealed that he thought the car was in park when he hit the accelerator. “Then it drove into the water. It was a very disgusting feeling,” he says and adds that the sauna skipper and the French guests helped to save his and his passenger’s lives.

Both driver and passenger were unharmed in the incident and were met by emergency services when the sauna docked.

“When the car ended up in the water, two people were, it appears, inside,” Oslo police wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “They were pulled from the water by a floating sauna.”

The car was also retrieved from the water – but by a tow truck.

 

Vladislav Nikirov, who witnessed the incident from a close by wharf says: “It was luck that someone came to help them. If there hadn’t been people there, I’m afraid of what could have happened, they could have died.”

Nikirov says that one person got out of the car first, while the other screamed for help. “I was shocked and surprised – like in a horror film. Fortunately, there were people who could help.”

Floating saunas for tourists

There are a plethora of floating sauna companies operating in Norway. Tripadvisor says a seat in a sauna for an hour and a half is about £18, or private rental for the whole boat (seating ten) runs at about £120. There’s also a private sauna cruise on the ticket (around £250 for two hours) which visits a nearby archipelago and offers a refreshing dip in the fjord.

“The fjord swimming is invigorating, especially in the dead of winter,” says one reviewer who went with sauna experience company Kok. “Ice bathing in December in Norway is not for the faint hearted but is an amazing experience to go from the freezing water to the 80 degree sauna and vice versa,” says another.

Marine sauna manufacturers

‘Our goal is to create sauna rafts that can withstand the changing Nordic climate’ says Marinbastun (run by a Fin, manufacturing in Sweden). ‘We have a wide variety of sauna models that suit different needs. Everything from our smallest models . . . which are well suited as summer saunas, to sauna floats . . . which are perfect as event saunas. Sauna rafts have become an increasingly common sight in our lakes, rivers and seas. The goal is to produce really good sauna rafts with a design that fits into the beautiful environments where they will be located.’

The UK’s Finnmark also makes outdoor log sauna cabins to be mounted onto a pontoon. ‘The cabin can have an outboard motor attached at the rear to allow you to move the floating sauna as a ‘sauna boat’ across a lake to a different mooring place,’ the company says. Floating sauna must have a floating pontoon base, Finnmark notes and adds that the thicker log options used for the sauna itself, the more substantial the pontoon requirements will be. ‘The floating sauna is suitable for lakes, canals, wide slow moving rivers and harbours. It is not suitable for higher grade waters and should be moored safely during rough weather,’ the company advises.

Unusual boat and marine rescues

This is not the first surreal rescue which MIN has reported.

Götheborg of Sweden rescue

In May 2023, two sailors who started drifting after losing their rudder told of their experience when a replica 18th-century merchant ship arrived to rescue them off the coast of France.  The largest ocean-going wooden sailing ship in the world, Götheborg of Sweden, was heading for its upcoming port stop in Jersey when it received the distress call. 

And then there was the incident with the giant inflatable duck.

That happened in June 2023. A paddleboarder was credited as a ‘real lifesaver’ after assisting three men on a giant inflatable duck as it drifted out into the Bristol Channel. The three men had seemingly pumped up the duck on the beach and taken it to sea.

Two RNLI volunteers with giant inflatable duck

After just five minutes, the trio had drifted out approximately 75 metres. When the duck was 200 metres off shore, the coastguard was called. A paddleboarder went to the rescue. Struggling against the current, the SUP managed to tow the inflatable closer to shore, where the men jumped out and swam to the beach.

All images of incident taken from BBC video above.

Read about more rescues with Marine Industry News

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