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Cruise ship gangway collapses in high winds
By:
thinkSPAIN , Thursday, March 5, 2009

One person was injured early this afternoon when a gangway joining a cruise ship to the passenger terminal in Palma harbour collapsed.  Three crew members also ended up in the sea and had to be fished out by the rescue services.

According to the Port Authority, the accident occurred as a result of the strong winds affecting the Balearic Islands today.

The region is one of those on red alert because of the weather and winds of 108kmph have been registered there over the past few hours.

At about 2.30pm today, as the passengers were disembarking from the cruise ship, a strong gust of wind ripped several of the bow moorings off the bollards and the boat lurched away from the quay, causing the gangway, at some 15m above the sea, to collapse. 

The passenger, an 80-year Egyptian man, who was crossing the gangway at the time fell into the water, hitting this head on the side of the ship on the way down, prompting three crew members to dive into the water to rescue him.

All four have been treated for hypothermia and the injured passenger is currently in hospital in Palma in a serious condition and attached to a ventilator.

The Port Authority took the decision to close the port to traffic 'as a safety measure' and the cruise ship has been moved fromt the Poniente quay, where the incident occurred, to the West quay.

The cruise ship, 'MSC Fantasia' run by the Italian company 'MSC Cruises', and advertised as the 'the world's most beautiful cruise ship' docked in Palma for the first time today but the visit has been marred by the incident and all on-board festivities have been cancelled for tonight as a result.

 
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