Cruise ship battered by freak storm

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Cruise ship battered by freak storm

13th September 2010

An expert in holiday accidents has expressed her shock at seeing footage of passengers being thrown around on-board a cruise ship lurching wildly in 25ft swells and 50-knot winds.

Katherine Allen, head of Travel and International Litigation at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said: "The CCTV footage aboard the ship clearly shows passengers and furniture being repeatedly thrown from one side of the deck to the other. This must have been a terrifying experience for those seen being flung to the floor and pummelled by the tables, chairs and broken debris hurtling towards them."

At least 42 people were hurt as the P&O cruise ship, 'Pacific Sun,' ran into a storm almost 400 miles north of New Zealand.

The ship, with 1,732 passengers and 671 crew, was homeward-bound, returning to Auckland from the islands of Vanuatu at the end of an eight-night cruise. The storm occurred just after nightfall as many of the passengers were sitting down to dinner.

Huge seven-metre high waves caught the ship side-on as it manoeuvred, causing it to pitch violently from side-to-side. Waves reportedly washed in as high as the fifth deck, violently rocking the ship to-and-fro and causing terrified passengers to cling onto anything to hand.

Katherine, an associate with the firm said: "Many passengers unsurprisingly sustained injuries such as broken ribs and limbs. Other injuries included a fractured pelvis, a broken collar bone, a ruptured kidney as well as numerous cuts and gashes."

Passengers were treated by the ship's medical staff on-board, with three being taken to hospital for further treatment when the ship reached Auckland, more then 24 hours after its scheduled arrival time.

Katherine said: "Cruise operators need to ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure that their ships avoid weather conditions that could potentially cause harm to passengers. Freak storms are rare and the technology on board ships should give sufficient warning of poor weather conditions to enable the crew to alter the course of the ship accordingly. Care needs to be taken to ensure that all necessary safety precautions have been taken on-board their ships and passengers are aware of emergency measures in place, should such an incident occur."

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
If you have been injured while on holiday or travelling in a foreign country, Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling compensation claims arising in foreign jurisdictions.

If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

Source - Sky