Cruise passengers in gangplank horror

FOUR cruise passengers from Ipswich are due home tomorrow following a dramatic trip in which three people were flung overboard during high winds.The Ipswich passengers were among the hundreds onboard when the ship broke free of its moorings, causing two elderly British tourists and a crew member to fall into the sea.

FOUR cruise passengers from Ipswich are due home tomorrow following a dramatic trip in which three people were flung overboard during high winds.

The Ipswich passengers were among the hundreds onboard when the ship broke free of its moorings, causing two elderly British tourists and a crew member to fall into the sea.

Ipswich cruise company Fred Olsen, which organised the trip, today said that the incident was incredibly rare.

There are 800 passengers onboard the Black Watch, which is set to return to Dover tomorrow from an eight-night cruise around Spain and France.


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It was docked at Bilbao in northern Spain when the incident happened at about 2pm on Wednesday as the passengers were crossing the gangplank.

Strong winds caused the ship to pull away from the pier and the gangplank became detached. It is believed they were in the water for about ten minutes before they were rescued and taken to hospital.

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The ship was not damaged during the incident and the cruise continued.

A spokeswoman for Fred Olsen said: “From the reports I have heard from the ship, it was a very gusty, showery day but this particular gust of wind really hit the ship.

“It is very, very rare for something like this to happen.”

Mike Rodwell managing director, added: “Two passengers and a crew member fell into the water but were rescued within minutes and taken to a nearby hospital.

“We will not release the names of the two passengers until their next of kin have been contacted but I can say that they are not in too great of a condition.”

It is thought most of the passengers on board are elderly.

Do you know the people from Ipswich on board? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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