A ‘freak wave’ amid adverse sea conditions kills cruise ship passenger


Stock image of a cruise ship. (Courtesy: MGN Online)

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(CNN) — A passenger aboard the British-based cruise ship MS Marco Polo was killed after the ship was hit by a “freak wave during adverse sea conditions” as it made its way into the English Channel, according to a statement released Friday by the ship’s owner, Cruise & Maritime Voyages.

“One elderly passenger has died and a further passenger has been airlifted for further shore-side medical assistance,” it said.

The cruise line did not release the identity nor nationality of the dead passenger.

The ship was en route from the Azores to its home port in Tilbury, England, and it was carrying 735 passengers and 349 crew members, the cruise line said. The passengers are primarily British, it said.

The cruise line did not reveal the condition of the injured passenger or say whether there were other injuries.

A man whose mother and father are aboard the Marco Polo said he first learned of the incident when his parents texted him.

They said a large wave hit the side of the ship between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. local time as they were dining in one of the ship’s restaurants, said the man, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity citing concern over a possible backlash against his parents.

When the wave hit, the windows in the restaurant burst and people were injured, the man said.

Passengers were asked to the go their rooms, and the man said his parents did that as the ship rocked side to side. The ship never lost power, he said.

The ship is scheduled to arrive in Tilbury on Sunday, he said.

By Talia Kayali and Chelsea J. Carter 

CNN’s Brian Walker contributed to this report.

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