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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 October 2006, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
Woman on cruise died from virus
Van Gogh cruise ship
Some of the Van Gogh's passengers became ill
A 78-year-old retired teacher died during a cruise less than two weeks after the ship had been detained due to a sickness bug, an inquest heard.

Pat Horn, of Cheltenham, Glos, died on 8 June, a day after contracting the Norovirus which led to the Van Gogh liner being held at Harwich, Essex.

More than 100 passengers had contracted the virus which causes vomiting.

A verdict of death by natural causes was recorded at the Chelmsford inquest by Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray.

The inquest heard the ship's doctor did not report the death to an environmental health officer who boarded the ship when it returned to Harwich.

Ukrainian Dr Andre Glumob said he did not realise that Mrs Horn had been vomiting or suffering diarrhoea.

'All clear'

Environmental health officer Davina Gomersall, who works for Tendring District Council, was asked whether she was surprised Dr Glumob did not report the death to her on 9 June.

She said: "It's not for me to comment." The health authorities were later notified of the death by fax.

A senior official and a lawyer from cruise operator Travelscope refused to answer questions after the inquest.

Club Cruise, the Dutch firm which owns the Van Gogh, was not represented at the inquest - although officials presented a written report.

Mrs Gomersall told the inquest that on 22 May the Van Gogh was in port at Harwich and 90 passengers plus 18 crew were found to be suffering from Norovirus.

The ship sailed and returned to port a few days later.

Then, on 28 May, 105 passengers and 21 crew were discovered to be sick and the authorities detained the ship until it was fumigated.

It was given the all-clear to leave on 30 May and set sail for Norway on 3 June. Mrs Horn became ill on 7 June and died on 8 June.


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