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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 October 2006, 08:21 GMT 09:21 UK
Cruise in hurricanes 'nightmare'
MV Athena
Athena bosses say the ship followed correct safety procedures
A cruise ship has docked in Falmouth carrying passengers - many from the South West - who say their trip of a lifetime became a nightmare.

Passengers endured two hurricanes and threatened a mutiny on board the MV Athena on its way to north America.

A 70-year-old man, from Sark in the Channel Islands, died after falling down steps during a storm.

Cruise firm Travelscope said that the ship had suffered an "unfortunate chain of events".

'Absolutely diabolical'

Mike Woodthorp, from Cornwall, said the ship was hit by bad weather two days after leaving Falmouth on 10 September.

The ship was heading to St John's, Newfoundland, in Canada on a 24-day Atlantic cruise.

He said: "The hurricane carried on for two days - abating slightly on Wednesday 13th - and we caught up with another hurricane on Thursday 14th.

"There were a lot of people ill and there was one gentleman, a 70-year-old man, who fell off steps between decks and died."

The dead man has been named Dr Michael Bedford, a retired GP.

Following his death, the ship went straight to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, therefore missing the second scheduled destination, Sydney in Nova Scotia.

They were also delayed by local authorities at Bar Harbour, Maine, USA, and refused entry in Boston before getting to New York earlier than planned.

Graham Arthurs, from St Austell, Cornwall, said the cruise had been a present from his children to celebrate his 30th wedding anniversary.

There were extremely unusual weather conditions for this time of year
Richard Ford, Travelscope
"I'm so disappointed - it's been absolutely diabolical," he said.

Richard Ford, managing director of cruise firm Travelscope, said: "The chain of events is unfortunate and obviously there was a very tragic incident that occurred.

"But there were extremely unusual weather conditions for this time of year. They were well away from the hurricane, the ship had slowed down for the comfort and safety of passengers and lots of announcements were made on board.

"Passengers were asked not to move around the vessel unless they really had to and stay seated where possible and the gentleman who died didn't do that.

"When the vessel got to Halifax the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the local coroner came on board and they were very happy with all the safety announcements and procedures that had taken place with this particular incident."

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