Scots passengers tell of 'thud' as lifeboat fell from Spanish cruise ship

James and Karen McArthur are on the Thomson Majesty in Santa Cruz, La Palma after five people died.

James and Karen McArthur on the Thomson Majesty.
James McArthur

A Scots couple have told of hearing a "thud" as a lifeboat fell from a cruise ship in the Canary Islands killing five people.

James and Karen McArthur are stuck on the Thomson Majesty in the port at Santa Cruz in La Palma after the accident on Sunday.

Five crew members died after the lifeboat fell during a training exercised just before 12pm. The ship’s operator, Thomson Cruises, said three of the men were from Indonesia, one from the Philippines and one from Ghana. Three other crew members were injured in the incident.

The couple, from Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, were on the second day of their week-long cruise around the canary islands when the accident happened.

Mr McArthur told STV News: "We were sitting up on the deck having lunch when we heard a thud. I said to my wife ‘somebody’s run into us’. A couple of minutes later everybody started going to the side of the ship.

"There was mention that a lifeboat had fallen off the ship. At that point we didn’t know there was anybody in the actual lifecraft.

"We went up to our room and it was the lifeboat directly outside our room that had collapsed so we could see the area and the aftermath. There was lots of people around about. The crew had just finished their exercise. It was when they had returned to the boat and the lifecraft was being lifted up that the incident happened.

"We can see the snapped cable from the window of our room. The lifecraft was upside down and has been towed into harbour near us. I think they’re trying to repair the damage."

The 49-year-old said they understood they were not allowed to sail until safety checks had been carried out but said they were getting frustrated by a lack of information.

Passengers did not even know anyone had been killed until six hours after the accident.

On Monday evening the McArthurs were informed that the cruise was to be cancelled and arrangements were being made to fly all passengers on board home. All the holidaymakers are to be offered a full refund.

Earlier in the day the captain and crew led everyone in a minute's silence for those who had lost their lives.

The snapped cable on the Thomson Majesty

Broken: The cable snapped and the lifeboat fell. © James McArthur

Investigators are trying to determine what caused the lifeboat to plummet into the water before capsizing.

The ship had been due to sail on Sunday afternoon to the Portuguese port of Funchal on the mid-Atlantic island of Madeira.

A Thomson Cruises spokesman said: "Thomson Cruises can confirm there was an incident involving the ship's crew during a safety drill on board Thomson Majesty, in La Palma, Canary Islands today at 11.50am local time.

"We can also confirm that there have sadly been five crew fatalities and three crew members injured.

"We are working closely with the ship owners and managers, Louis Cruises, to determine exactly what has happened and provide assistance to those affected by the incident. We are also working closely with all relevant authorities and will be co-operating fully with their investigations."

Thomson and the Foreign Office said there were no Britons involved.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.