The news was released on Saturday 23rd April by the UK hospital she was airlifted to from Norway
|73 year old medical emergency Janet Richardson dropped in the sea... |
Let us consider what cannot happen, in sea conditions at this time of year. Unless it is a millpond then forget about lashing the port vessel to the larger cruise ship, both would have to be at a standstill. What the Nowegians opted for was 'an at speed' transfer whereby both vessels are locked at the same speed and the smaller vessel literally steers slightly into the side of the larger hull immediately under the entry point. But the rescue ship seems to be more of a regular transfer vessel rather than a lifeboat or specialist ambulance craft.
The resultant vacuum created by the water motion is usually enough to temporarily 'glue' the two vessels together for a brief period ie just long enough to pass the stretcher and patient over. This technique is used daily by pilots when they jump on and off ships requiring the services of a Pilot. What seems to have happened is that a sheet of ice had formed on surface of the the larger hull and created an ice wall or veneer so no binding or suction of the two vessels could take place. One rogue wave and the pensioner was in the drink...
The second unusual point is that a standard ambulance stretcher ( probably loaded on board by the Norwegians ) was used with two tie straps, when a more usual kyak style semi enclosed 'rescue litter' stretcher is employed with a variety of ropes and in some cases pulleys. However this lapse may well have immediately saved the unfortunate lady as she was thrown out of the ambulance stretcher which we can only presume was earlier loaded onto the ship by the norwegians as we commented earlier.
Why didn't the ship run for port? Simply it would take some time to stop, turn and divert the ship and if there was no vacant deep water berth free then a medevac at sea is still required, so this also has to be discounted. However I was on board the RCI Independence of the Seas in February when it did make an unscheduled stop at Gibraltar for all of 8 minutes. To offload a stretcher into a waiting ambulance. I have also witnessed helicopter landings
Why no helicopter? Probably logistics, the time it would take to scramble and route a helicopter unlike the UK, many other countries do not fully maintain an instant response air service. Finally why did the ship not lanch one of its own tender vessels which also double up as an enclosed motorised lifeboat for 150 persons?
probably due to the diatance from shore and the possibility of ice fouling the twin rotary propellers.
The sad fact is that it is also 100 years following the sinking of the RMS Titanic and the passengers from that era would also have been dumped into water of a like temperature, many of them died not through drowning but from hypothermia. Mrs Richardson died on Thursday evening. The news was released by the UK hospital on Saturday 23rd April after all relatives had been informed. Our thoughts are with the family and all those concerned in this tragic accident. Several investigations have now been started.
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