5 Dead in Lifeboat Drill off Spain’s Canary Islands

Monday, 11 Feb 2013 03:25 PM

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A Thomson Cruises ship safety drill ended tragically on Sunday, when a snapped cable caused a lifeboat to fall, killing five crew members and injuring three others near Spain's Canary Islands.

The lifeboat was being hoisted back up to the deck when the cable broke, causing it to fall approximately 65 feet from the British-owned Thomson Majesty ship.

The lifeboat was upside-down when it landed in the water, according to the Associated Press.

All five of the deceased crew members were subsequently recovered from the water. The three crewmen who were injured sustained only minor injuries, according to Thomson Cruises.

The ship was docked at the island's port of Santa Cruz and was supposed to depart at 3 p.m. for the mid-Atlantic island of Madeira. There were 1,498 passengers and 594 crew on board.

Also on Sunday, a Carnival cruise ship with more than 4,200 passengers on the other side of the Atlantic went adrift in the Gulf of Mexico after the engine went ablaze.

No injuries were reported in the fire, the details of which have yet to be released.

A tugboat vessel was expected to arrive Monday to guide the ship into the nearest harbor, some 150 miles away.

The safety drill tragedy comes just a year after Carnival's Costa Concordia’s wreck off the Italian coast, when the ship, carrying 4,200 passengers and a crew, ran aground and left at least 30 people dead, with an additional two still missing and presumed dead.

The Costa Concordia's captain, Francesco Schettino, was charged with manslaughter, after allegedly abandoning his ship while passengers remained onboard and in harm's way. The trial against Schettino is still under way.

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