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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 January, 2004, 18:08 GMT
Elderly women taken off liner
Rescuers taking one of the women off the liner
The women were rescued in a three-hour operation
Two elderly women had to be taken off from the super liner Queen Mary 2 after both suffered broken legs.

The coastguard received a call at about 2330 GMT on New Year's Eve reporting that a woman in her 60s had broken her leg while aboard the liner off the Devon coast.

Arrangements were made for the cruise ship to head towards Torbay, then at 0145 GMT on New Year's Day the coastguards received a second call saying that another elderly woman had also broken a leg.

The women were among around 1,500 passengers, who were mainly friends and family of Cunard company staff, aboard the 2,620-berth vessel.

The two women were taken off the vessel by lifeboat after an operation lasting about three hours on Thursday morning.

One of the rescued women
The women were transferred to hospital

Ruth Perl, 65, from Cobham, Surrey, the mother of Cunard's marketing director, suffered a broken hip when she fell on the dance floor during New Year celebrations.

And 69-year-old Toos Seheepers, who lives near Eindhoven, Netherlands, broke a leg when she embarked on Wednesday evening, but only realised she had suffered a fracture when she fainted later.

They were landed at Torquay's Haldon pier at 1120 GMT for transfer by ambulance to the local hospital.

A spokesman for Queen Mary 2 said that both women were in a "comfortable" condition.

The vessel was due back in Southampton on Friday.

The Queen Mary 2 will be named by the Queen in the city on 12 January.

The ship put to sea for the first time on 23 December, following an accident that left 15 people dead when a gangway collapsed.

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