National News

Supplied by

Briton who fell off cruise ship in Croatia ‘sang’ to survive 10-hour ordeal

6:46 pm, 20th August 2018

The passenger, named as Kay Longstaff, was taken to hospital in the city of Pula and said she feels “very lucky” to have been rescued.

She fell from an aft deck of the Norwegian Star cruise ship about 60 miles (95km) off Croatia’s coast late on Saturday night.

A Croatian rescue ship was scrambled and found her swimming not far from where Ms Longstaff was believed to have fallen.

“Luckily for her we saw her immediately because she raised and waved her hands when she saw us,” said the vessel’s captain Lovro Oreskovic.

Mr Oreskovic added that she told the crew that she practices yoga and sang while floating to stay awake, but was exhausted when she was found.

“It is a real miracle that she is alive,” Oreskovic said. “On the cruiser ship they thought she is not. It’s obvious that she’s very fit.”

The 46-year-old, understood to be from Brighton, gave an interview to the Croatia news service HRT saying she felt “very lucky” to have survived.

“I was in the water for 10 hours, so these wonderful guys rescued me,” she said.

“I am very lucky to be alive. I was sitting at the back of the deck.”

Mr Oreskovic said she fell from the back of the Norwegian Star cruise ship that was sailing towards Venice, Italy, shortly before midnight on Sunday.

The ship launched a search mission in the area of her fall, but could not find her.

She was eventually rescued 10 hours later by the Croatian coast guard and taken to a hospital for a 24-hour examination.

Hospital director Irena Hristic said Ms Longstaff has suffered stress but was in good health overall.

“The woman looks young, healthy and is a sports person,” Ms Hristic said. “She said she swam all the time and was conscious.”

David Radas, a spokesman at Croatia’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs, said that by checking CCTV, rescuers knew the exact moment she fell in the water.

“Because they knew the time, they were able to know the exact position of the ship,” he told The Sun.

A Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson said: “In the morning of 19 August, a guest went overboard as Norwegian Star made her way to Venice.

“The Coast Guard was notified and a search and rescue operation ensued.

“We are pleased to advise that the guest was found alive, is currently in stable condition, and has been taken ashore in Croatia for further treatment.

“We are very happy that the individual, who is a UK resident, is now safe and will soon be reunited with friends and family.”

The circumstances of the incident are being investigated and the British Embassy in Croatia has been informed.

Dolores Brenko Skerjanc of the Croatian port authority said that the Adriatic Sea is warm in the summer and could have contributed to Ms Longstaff’s survival.

“She spent a lot of time in the water, but the sea is now quite warm and the chances for survival are better,” he told state broadcaster HRT.