A 29 year old crew member died during a botched life boat training exercise in New Zealand today.
According to newspapers in New Zealand, the accident occurred when crew members from Holland America Line’s Volendam cruise ship were practicing life boats drills. One of the wires attaching the lifeboat to the cruise ship snapped, throwing the two HAL crew members into the water in Lyttelton Harbor. One of the crew members was rescued, but the other man who was wearing heavy clothing and boots went under water and did not reappear. The crew members were reportedly not wearing a life jacket.
HAL has not released the name of the deceased crew member.
January 9, 2011 Update:
We received a comment (below) from the Medical Officer on the HAL cruise ship, expressing his/her condolences. We appreciate hearing from cruise line like this. It shows compassion. This is the first time in 500 blog articles that a cruise line has posted a comment on our blog following a crew member death or injury.
A newspaper in New Zealand has a follow up article on the crew member death – "Liner Crew Traumatized by Shipmate’s Drowning" – indicating that the cruise ship’s 600 crew members were "obviously traumatised by the whole thing . . . they all know each other pretty well, so they are quite upset."