Around 100 Saga passengers injured in cruise ship drama as storm hits vessel
Around 100 cruise passengers have been injured after their ship was thrashed in a brutal storm.
Saga's Spirit of Discovery was on its way back to port in the UK when it was smashed with 30ft waves and gale-force winds. The worst struck over the Bay of Biscay, along the western coast of France.
Weather warnings meant the two-week trip to the Canary Islands was cut short after departing on October 24. The captain hoped to avoid the worst of the oncoming storms set to thrash the area. But as it sailed through the Bay of Biscay, the vessel was caught by choppy winds and rain.
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According to MailOnline, at around 12:30pm, the conditions were so rough that the ship's automatic safety system was activated. The vessel's engines fired and jerked the ship into a tight turn, causing around 100 passengers to stumble and slam into the furniture and floor.
All of the injured passengers were forced to nurse their wounds for around 18 hours. Five passengers are understood to have suffered more serious wounds, they were treated at the ship's medical centre and later taken to hospital after docking.
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In a letter to passengers seen by Portsmouth outlet The News, Saga Cruises CEO Nigel Blanks attempted to ease the traumatised passengers by acknowledging the “extremely frightening time”. However, he emphasises that the ship remained “safe”.
Mr Blanks also promised to provide more information on compensation for passengers on the “disappointing” cruise.
Inresponse to questions over the decision to return to the UK via the Bay of Biscay, Saga said continuing on the original tour or taking an alternative route would've meant confronting the storm head on. The crew had initially planned to moor at La Coruna port in Northwestern Spain but were informed while en route that the port had been closed due to bad weather.
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The company maintains that the ship was adequately prepared for the anticipated challenging conditions.
A Saga Cruises statement said: “Spirit of Discovery was sadly caught in the challenging weather conditions this weekend, as she started her return to the UK. The ship remained safe at all times, but due to the impact of the storm, some guests sustained injuries. All were treated immediately by onboard medical staff.
“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.”
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