Hours of fear for passengers on board the “Spirit of Discovery” ship which suddenly found itself in the middle of a storm off the coast of France. More than 100 people were injured after the force of the waves caused the cruise ship bound for Britain to veer onto its side. The “Spirit of Discovery” set sail on 24 October for a two-week cruise to the Canary Islands with a thousand passengers on board but last Saturday, 4 November, she had to return to the UK due to bad weather.
The safety maneuver
The Captain had made the decision to return to the UK early due to worsening weather, but on Saturday the ship 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 suddenly veer to port and stop. A spokesperson for the company, Saga Cruises, told the BBC that most of the injuries occurred during this sudden movement. The vessel was subsequently held in position until weather conditions improved.
Messages from passengers
According to the ship’s staff, most of the passengers suffered minor injuries, while five were treated for more serious injuries by the ship’s medical staff. As soon as they landed in Portmouth some were taken straight to the nearest hospital. “People were writing messages to their loved ones in case we capsized,” a passenger on the “Spirit of Discovery” told the BBC. “Our captain’s tone of voice was definitely scared. The crew was crying. We had a lot of passengers terribly anxious. It was a terrifying experience.”