Cruise ship accident leaves crew fatalities

Five deaths confirmed after lifeboat belonging to British-operated vessel falls upside down at Canary Islands port.

    Five crew members of a a British-operated cruise ship have died and three others injured after a lifeboat fell upside down into the sea at a port in Spain's Canary Islands during a safety drill, officials say.

    About 1,400 passengers were on board, but none were involved in Sunday's accident.

    Thomson Cruises confirmed the incident involving the Thomson Majesty on the island of La Palma, saying "there have sadly been five crew fatalities and three crew injuries".

    "One person has been discharged from hospital and we expect the other two people to be released from hospital imminently," the British company said in a statement.

    "Our thoughts are with the families of those involved."

    Investigators were trying to determine what caused the lifeboat to plummet into the water.

    Rescue personnel were called to the dockside at 12:05 GMT (7:05am EST) after "a lifeboat with occupants had fallen overboard from a cruise ship docked at the pier of Santa Cruz port in La Palma", a regional government statement said.

    A small, white two-hulled lifeboat could be seen capsized beside the large ship.

    Around 1,400 passengers were aboard the Thomson Majesty at the time of the accident, but were not in any way involved in the accident, authorities said.

    The ship had been due to sail on Sunday afternoon to the Portuguese port of Funchal on the mid-Atlantic island of Madeira.

    Three of the dead were Indonesian men, one was a Filipino man and another was a man from Ghana, authorities said.

    The injured were all men, two aged 30 and another, a Greek national, was 32.

    The local authorities of La Palma cancelled Carnival festivities that had been due to be held on the island on Sunday, but said they would go ahead as planned on Monday.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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