Spirit of Discovery: Cruise ship passengers 'feared for their lives' – BBC

This video can not be played
Huge waves were filmed by cruise ship passenger Alan Grisedale
Passengers on the Spirit of Discovery have described a state of fear on board the cruise ship after it was hit by a storm in the Bay of Biscay.
About 100 people were injured when the ship veered dramatically during a safety manoeuvre on Saturday.
Most of the injuries were described as minor by cruise company Saga, but five people were taken to hospital when the ship docked in Portsmouth on Monday.
One passenger said some of those on board "feared for their lives".
"People were writing texts to their loved ones in case we capsized," the passenger told BBC News.
"The tone of voice in our captain… he was physically scared. We had crew crying. We had many passengers in awful states of fear.
"To say 'minor injuries' is an insult to the many horrific broken bones, pelvises, lacerations, stitches etc. that were caused [to] a very old passenger clientele."
This video can not be played
A passenger told the BBC "tables were flying" and the waves were "throwing people around all up and down the place"
The ship departed for a 14-day cruise around the Canary Islands on 24 October with about 1,000 people on board.
A decision was made to return to the UK early due to worsening weather, but on Saturday the vessel encountered a storm in the Bay of Biscay – where boats often encounter notoriously rough seas.
It was here that the ship's safety system kicked in, causing the vessel to veer suddenly to the left and effectively stop. A Saga spokesperson said most of the injuries occurred during this sudden movement.
The ship was subsequently held in position until weather conditions improved.
Jan Bendall, 75, who was on the cruise with her husband, said they were in their cabin when the captain's voice came over the speaker system and told them to "remain seated or lie down".
She said after the ship halted, it was stationary for about 15 hours whilst "caught in the middle of the storm", during which she and her husband were "holding on for dear life".
"It was quite frightening," she said. "I'm not somebody who frightens easily… it was quite dramatic."
She went on: "We were lucky – we're quite able-bodied, but I think some of the older people and people in their own cabins were quite worried."
Passenger Alan Grisedale, who filmed the huge waves, said the swell knocked his wife over and moved furniture in their cabin.
Another passenger told the BBC "tables were flying" and the waves were "throwing people around all up and down the place".
Mrs Bendall said part of the dining room was converted into "a makeshift medical area" and passengers were told to stay in their cabins for the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday.
Despite the ordeal, she said the staff were "absolutely fantastic".
She said the crew and captain gave regular updates and repeatedly reassured passengers "the ship is safe".
She and her husband disembarked at about 09:00 GMT on Tuesday and described seeing workers replacing glass doors, windows and partitions that had been smashed in the storm.
Saga confirmed there had been "very limited" damage to some fixtures inside the ship but it "remained safe at all times".
"While the weather is clearly beyond our control, we want to offer our sincere apologies to all those affected who are now safely on their way home in calmer seas," the spokesperson added.
Were you on board the Spirit of Discovery cruise ship? Share your experiences, email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.
Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also get in touch in the following ways:
If you are reading this page and can't see the form you will need to visit the mobile version of the BBC website to submit your question or comment or you can email us at HaveYourSay@bbc.co.uk. Please include your name, age and location with any submission.
Follow BBC South on Facebook, X, or Instagram. Send your story ideas to south.newsonline@bbc.co.uk.
Some cruise passengers to fly home after storm crash
UK cruise ship crashes in Mallorca storms
Ian Pickering announced as Reform UK candidate for Isle of Wight West
Cowes RNLI lifeboat successfully tows rudderless 37-foot yacht
Save The Children to open pop-up in Petersfield's Winton House Centre
Final teen sentenced for historic Isle of Wight building vandalism
Southampton: Digger ends up on its side in Coxford Road
Final member of 'evil' teen gang behind historic building vandalism sentenced
Israel to begin daily four-hour military pauses in Gaza, US says
Israel sees 'sign of life' in Gaza hostage video
Trial begins for Paul Pelosi's accused attacker
A turning point in Myanmar as army suffers big losses
He had a call from Israeli intelligence. 'We have the order to bomb. You have two hours'
Dead bodies and tanks on road south as people flee
Hezbollah warns of regional war if Gaza bombing goes on
Why 'I don't recall' is a common strategy on the stand
China's 'communist spies' in the dock in Taiwan
Musicians behind bars in Belarus crackdown on dissent
Afghanistan's dazzling run captivates world cricket
'Don't mess with Claressa' – a fighter as hard as Flint
The employees secretly using ChatGPT
Why aliens may be weirder than we think
Africa's safari trail with no tourists
© 2023 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read about our approach to external linking.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top