CHERBOURG, France (AP) _ A Danish freighter carrying 400 tons of dynamite drifted in the busy shipping lanes of the English Channel today after being abandoned by its crew, and French authorities were considering blowing it up, maritime officials said.

The Hornestrand was heading south toward the Atlantic and was off Cherbourg, France, when it reported heat was building up in a hold from which smoke was rising, a Cherbourg maritime center official reported.

The crew of two men and three women abandoned the 1,000-ton ship shortly after 8 a.m. and were rescued from their lifeboat by a Cypriot freighter. The five were taken by helicopter to Cherbourg.

At midday, the maritime official said, the Danish ship was about 45 nautical miles off the French coast. If the ship cannot be towed or restaffed, authorities may be forced to blow it up, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official said he had no information about the situation aboard the ship, but the British Coast Guard reported it did not appear to be on fire.

The ship's Danish manager, Bendt Anderson, was quoted in Britain as saying the ship carried 400 tons of dynamite.

A French navy corvette and a fast patrol boat went to the area to ensure that ships, already warned by radio messages, kept well clear of the freighter. A British frigate also was in the area.