Crew from P&O Cruises Britannia and Seabourn Quest were involved in a rescue operation in Olden, Norway today. A rib boat had an accident alongside, and although we don’t yet know the exact cause of the accident, it was the wonderful crew of Britannia and Seabourn Quest that went to the rescue.
CruiseMiss guest blogger, Scott Rogers is currently onboard Britannia and has sent this information directly from the ship. “I didn’t quite see it all, but I saw the aftermath as it was being dealt with. The Captain and ships staff acted promptly, getting the emergency boat and a tender in the water to assist, and took a very sick looking rib crew member to the onboard medical centre. He was air lifted soon after. The Captain initially said no one from the ship was on the boat, but we’ve seen people being brought back on the ship by officers – people that had been treated in the building on the quay by the ambulance service.
The Captain has since confirmed that two passengers from Britannia were on the boat (a local non-ship excursion) and we’re treated by the onboard medical team. One had swum to shore.The rib coxswain was rescued from the water by Britannia’s emergency boat – unconscious but was revived onboard. He was air lifted to hospital where he is now critical but stable. A tender from Seaborn Quest and another local rib tour boat also assisted”.
If any further information comes through from Scott, I will let you know!
Image credit: Scott Rogers
I watched the aftermath of this terrible accident from the Seabourn Quest with binoculars. I saw someone on the Britannia doing CPR for probably 15 minutes until the helicopter came. Later in the our Captain made an announcement that the person was in the hospital and speaking and was going to recover. At the time, I said to my husband that if that person was okay it was a miracle. I don’t know who it was who gave our ship the incorrect information, but it was a crime to do so. Did they just not want to spoil our cruise?
A person suddenly entering water that is 10 degrees C can enter Cold Water Shock, which can cause a sudden Heart attack in even fit healthy individuals. The blood vessels in the skin close up and cause a large increase in blood pressure which triggers the cardiac event.
My brother and dad had been on this ‘RIB’ experience earlier that morning (on a P&O excursion) and they were given a ‘survival suit’ to wear and they assumed that this had some form of buoyancy. It seems that this is the case as the two passengers in the water did seem to be held up and were not struggling like you would without any form of life vest. After all, in a country like Norway it must be illegal not to wear a life jacket when doing such an activity. Perhaps the driver was not wearing the same kind of suit though and so this would explain why he did not seem to have any form of buoyancy when he entered the water.
My brother and dad may have been wearing this ‘survival suit’ but they were surprised that they had not received any form of safety briefing prior to the trip – for example what to do if you come out of the boat. Such an activity surely requires some form of acknowledgment of the safety risks and this was not received. My dad has been in touch with P&O to complain about this – perhaps this trip is unsuitable to be endorsed by P&O. They also noted that several times the boat came quite close up to Britannia which surely poses another safety risk. I’m sure the police will be investigating these issues.
We were very saddened to hear that the driver passed away as a result of this incident. We believe that this was the same driver as for my brother and dad’s trip – they noted that he was very friendly, chatty and even took some photos for them. Our thoughts are with the family of the driver and also the other passengers of this incident who no doubt will have been shaken up by it.
I witnessed the incident in Olden from a window seat in the Horizon restaurant although I was distracted for a few seconds and did not actually see the three persons enter the water. The RIB passed the Brittania with all the passengers obviously enjoying the trip and waving to passengers on the Brittania. I shifted my gaze for seconds only to sweeten my coffee and when I looked again the RIB was stationary and there were 3 people in the water. They did not seem to be in any distress and at first I assumed that this was part of the emergency drills which had been carried out imediately before this incident. I could not understand why the remaining passengers in the RIB, although concerned and trying to attract attention, did not bring the RIB around to pick up the people in the water. It wasn,t until an announcement by the captain of the Brittania that I realised that the driver of the RIB had gone overboard, immobilising the RIB. We then went to our cabin on deck 11 and on going on the balcony noticed that the people were still in the water and the passengers on the RIB were still trying to attract attention, which must have been 6 or 7 minutes after the incident. We then witnessed the crew from the Brittania attempting to get one person aboard their emergency boat and one of their crew entering the water to help to get the person aboard.This person was eventually brought aboard Brittania (immediately below our balcony) and it was evident that a female, presumably a member of Brittania medical crew was working hard trying to resuscitate the victim.
Although earlier comments have indicated that lifebelts were not worn, I was under the impression that they were worn and my recollection is that the remaining passengers on the RIB were equipped with life saving equipment.
At 20 knots the ship would have travelled 1.9miles if you fell overboard and it took 5 minuted for the rescue craft to find you. In reality you gave little chance of being rescued. Stay safe.
I agree with the comment about rescuing unconscious persons from the seas. And very bad news that the boat driver is no longer with us.
Unfortunately, I have to report that the 57 year old driver died of his injuries the day after the accident. I learnt this from looking at Norwegian newspaper reports on the web and translating these from Norwegian to English using Google. The police remain unclear as to what happened since the driver was very experienced and there had been no incidents since the RIB operation started in 2008. I do not believe that he or anyone else in the boat was wearing a life jacket. It is unclear why the driver fell unconcscious after entering the water. The temperature of the water in the fjord at this time of year is around 10 degrees so I don’t think that should have led to hypothermia in the time he was in the water. I was with the same driver earlier that morning and sat next to him on the boat during an earlier trip. He took a couple of photos of my son and I in the boat. I noticed his hands were shaking most of the time, but otherwise he seemed ok. The police are requesting witnesses of the incident to come forward and any video footage would I’m sure help them get to the bottom of this tragic accident. Needless to say, I will not be taking a RIB trip in the future without first knowing that life jackets will be issued and a full safety briefing delivered before the trip. In hindsight, the safety procedures used by this operation were not up to standard and I only hope lessons are learnt from this by both the operator and the cruise companies who are contracting their services.
My husband saw this from the balcony although didn’t see them going in the water only heard them shouting for help he was concerned as it was sometime before brittania crew reached them seabourn crew being first and when my husband got our cabin man to look told us not to worry as they are playing in the water!!! Only then when it came over speaker did the cabin man realise was serious response time was very slow hate to think if a very serious accident or incident happened how crew would respond as was some time these people were in the freezing water before anythink was done
Surely the life jacket would have automatically inflated taking his head from the water immediately on water impact. I do hope he makes a full recovery.
We watched this upsetting incident from the Crow’s Nest lounge. At first, nobody realised that it was the RIB driver that was one of the three people in the water. Hence, all expected that the RIB boat would turn round and pick them up. I thiink this explains some of the delay in the initial reaction. Personally, I couldn’t understand why the three people in the water did not swim back to the boat which did not look far from them, but maybe there was a reason for this. What was odd was that all three people in the water were initially swimming and moving and did not look in distress. Therefore, it was a shock later when we realised that one of them had gone unconscious whilst in the water. Was this the cold or did he suffer some sort of heart attack or something? My son and I had been on the same RIB trip earlier that day. In hindsight, I realise there was no health and safety briefing and we were not issued with life jackets. There was also only one ‘qualiified’ person in the boat. That was an official P&O trip so I think there needs to be some reflection by the shore execursion team whether this operator really meets the safety standards for such an experience. Like others, my prayers are with the driver and his family.
These things happen but I’m sure the crew did their best. I’m sure there will be a full review of what happened and see how things could be improved in the future.
I didn’t see the start of the incident myself so wasn’t aware it had taken so long, but from the time the call itself went out over Britannia’s tannoy to the time I saw staff responding was seconds. A deck officer went by me on the aft port stairwell like an Olypmic 100m sprinter and from then until the emergency boat was in the water took no time at all. As for the rib coxwain, we had no further update on his condition so I prey he is still stable and recovering.
As passengers on the Britannia overlooking ‘the rescue’ from the moment we spotted three people in the water until all the casualties were brought on board, we felt the response by our ship and the Seabourn Quest could have been so much faster.
The other passengers left helpless in the marooned rib were shouting for help for quite some time and people around us on G & F deck were trying to alert crew to what was happening below us. We could see across the water the tender waiting alongside the Seabourn could have come straight away – thereby saving at least 8 minutes. It took a small rib driven by a local guy, we think, in a shirt and trousers to actually jump into the water to try and help pull up the unconscious casualty who we now know was the driver of the original rib that was involved.
However the fact that the Britannia crew managed to revive this man was indeed a remarkable feat for which they should be applauded.
Hmmmm. As one of the casualties it wasn’t such a great exercise.
I’m sure it wasn’t! I hope you are OK!
Do you know if the driver survived so pleased you are ok
Watching from the ship was the most horrific experience, we really felt that there was know procedure for recovering a unconscious heavy body from the water to a rescue craft, this took the crew at least 20 virtual minutes to get his head out of the water. There needs to be a more streamline procedure in this type of rescue operation. But well done for resuscitating the drowning man, it will be a miracle if he fully recovers
This is terrible news, I witnessed all of this from my balcony.
The tender from seabourn quest passed by about 30 seconds before therefore creating waves. The RIB went along parallel with Britannia then did a sharp left turn into the wave created. This lifted the RIB up and the back end skipped round and when it hit the water jerked and catapulted the passengers and driver out. One of which appeared to do a backwards summersault off the RIB possibly hitting the side in the process. I belive this was the driver in a yellow suit.
I left my details with P&O and they have since been in contact for my views.
I was blowing the life jackets whistles and ringing the emergency line but it took far too long for anyone to act. One member of P&O staff was stood next to the buoyancy ring for a few minutes with the stranded passengers shouting for it. But he put it back and walked away.
Terrible to watch.