Saga passengers threaten to sue if not offered compensation
EXCLUSIVE: Saga passengers left screaming for their lives when 30ft waves crashed into side of their cruise ship will sue for millions if they aren’t offered proper compensation
- Passengers were left fearing for their lives amidst a tempest in the Bay of Biscay
- Around 100 of the 980 people on board the cruise were injured during a storm
Furious passengers left screaming for their lives when 30 foot waves tore into the side of their cruise ship are preparing to sue Saga for millions of pounds if they aren’t offered adequate compensation.
The Spirit of Discovery cut short its two-week voyage returning to Portsmouth on Saturday after tourists were left fearing for their lives amidst the terrifying tempest in the Bay of Biscay.
Around 100 of the 980 people on board were injured, with Saga claiming the majority of whom were hurt as the ship’s safety system was activated causing it to dramatically veer and shudder to a halt, but passengers on board said many others suffered emotional trauma.
In a letter to passengers Saga CEO Nigel Blanks promised a compensation offer by the end of the week but a group of at least 25 passengers are already compiling evidence in anticipation of a court battle.
Richard Reynolds, 60, who travelled with his wife and elderly parents spent £19,000 on the cruise, during the terrifying crossing of the Bay of Biscay his mother was injured after being thrown off balance by a giant wave and spent two nights in the medical centre.
Richard Reynolds, 60, who travelled with his wife Jayne (pictured on baord before hitting the storm) on The Spirit of Discovery cruise ship were left fearing for their lives during the cruise when they were caught in the middle of a terrifying tempest in the Bay of Biscay
The Spirit of Discovery cut short its two-week voyage and headed back to Portsmouth on Saturday as holiday-goers feared for their lives during the storm in the Bay of Biscay
The majority of those injured were hurt as the ship’s safety system was activated, causing it to dramatically veer and shudder to a halt, according to Saga
The ship was left stationary at the mercy of towering waves for 18 hours, with passengers claiming the waves were as high as 54 feet – taller than three double-decker buses
READ MORE: ‘Medics were overrun, someone was being resuscitated… broken bones, people on stretchers, the crew crying. It was PETRIFYING’: Passengers on storm-lashed Saga cruise recall their 18-hour ordeal as 30ft waves tore into the boat
He said: ‘There were a lot of people injured but a lot more have suffered trauma from what happened
‘My wife has not been able to sleep the last two nights, my mum was in tears when she was getting off the boat.
‘The whole experience was horrendous. Waves were coming up to the fifth storey windows, people were screaming and furniture and plates and glass were flying in every direction.
‘People were screaming for their lives, things were banging and crashing around us and they thought they were going to die.
‘We were there chaperoning my elderly parents, my mother was in the medical ward because she had a fall. They were so swamped they had to turn the main dining room into a makeshift first aid area because it was completely overrun.
‘She witnessed somebody being resuscitated by three members of staff.
‘We are waiting to hear what Saga say about compensation but have formed an action group including people who know a lot more about the law than me to gather video and photographic evidence and we are not ruling out legal action at all.’
As the cruise ship was relentlessly pummeled for 18 hours some desperate passengers wrote notes to loved ones in case they did not make it home – while other traumatised travellers wore lifejackets for two days straight.
As the cruise ship was relentlessly pummeled for 18 hours some desperate passengers wrote notes to loved ones in case they did not make it home – while other traumatised travellers wore lifejackets for two days
The horrifying ordeal forced part of the dining room to be converted into ‘a makeshift medical area’ and passengers were told to stay in their cabins for the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday
Around 100 of the 1,000 people on board were injured, but some passengers who saw the carnage with their own eyes warn the number of injured could be closer to 150
A map showing the planned route of The Spirit of Discovery. The cruise ship was passing htrough the Bay of Biscay when 100 pessengers were injured
Responding to questions over the decision to return to the UK via the Bay of Biscay, Saga contended that continuing on the original tour or choosing an alternate route would have meant confronting the storm head-on.
The crew had initially planned to moor at La Coruna port in northwestern Spain, but were informed while en route the port had been closed due to bad weather, forcing them to continue north and traverse Biscay on the way to the UK.
The company maintains that the ship was adequately prepared for the anticipated challenging conditions.
But Mr Reynolds claims Saga prioritised getting the ship back ready for the next cruise.
He added: ‘The bottom line is we shouldn’t have been there, we were the only cruise ship that didn’t seek shelter.
‘Three days before the storm hit we were told we were trying to get ahead of if. All they cared about was getting back in time for the next cruise.
‘At the end of the day they gambled and it didn’t pay off and now they need to make it right.
‘All we have had is a letter from the CEO Nigel Blanks apologising which was normal corporate drivel saying they will be in contact this week regarding compensation.
‘I know full well why they are doing that. When we are back in our nice cosy homes elderly people start forgetting about the trauma.
Pictured is Saga Cruises’s Spirit of Discovery in port at Portsmouth International Port following the incident at the weekend
The ship’s automatic safety system was activated, causing the engines to fire and jerk the vessel into a tight turn, which allegedly caused injuries
‘What they are trying to do is split the passengers so they can fob 50% off with their offer then 20% might take it a bit further then they have boiled down 30% who they might have to do something with.
‘The next stage is to wait for Saga’s correspondence but they need to know this won’t go away.’
A Saga Cruises statement said: ‘Spirit of Discovery was sadly caught in the challenging weather conditions this weekend, as she started her return to the UK.
‘The ship remained safe at all times, but due to the impact of the storm some guests sustained injuries. All were treated immediately by onboard medical staff.
‘While the weather is clearly beyond our control, we want to offer our sincere apologies to all those affected who are now safely on their way home in calmer seas.’
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