Page last updated at 20:07 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June 2008 21:07 UK

Man trapped on cruise ship dies

Saga Rose rescue (picture from Hants Fire and Rescue)
Rescuers battled for more than an hour to save the crewman

A crewman has died after becoming trapped and losing consciousness in the hull of a cruise ship in Hampshire.

Emergency services were called at about 1430 BST to reports two men were locked in the ballast tanks of the Saga Rose docked at Southampton Cruise Terminal.

One of the men remained conscious and was pulled to safety through a small hole on a rope and taken to hospital.

But the other man was declared dead at about 1600 BST. Efforts were still being made to recover his body.

Fire crews spent more than an hour battling to save the man, who had the use of an oxygen mask, the fire service said.

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman said: "The man in his 40s has unfortunately died.

'Out-of-bounds area'

"His body has not been pulled out and a recovery operation is in progress.

"A man in his 30s was rescued and taken to hospital. He was confused but did not appear to have any other injuries."

The pair were trapped in the ballast tank, which is a compartment at the bottom of a ship which holds water to control a ship's buoyancy and stability.

Water is discharged when the ship is heavily laden and then taken on again when travelling with light cargo.

Paul Green, spokesman for Saga, could not confirm whether there was any water in the tank at the time.

He said the cruise ship, which holds 600 passengers, was due to set off for a cruise at 1600 BST and the passengers were already on board. They were being informed of events.

The ship should have set sail from Southampton on a 14-night cruise to the Baltic stopping at Amsterdam, Kiel, Riga, St Petersburg.

Mr Green confirmed the vessel was not in dry dock or undergoing repairs.

He added: "There is going to be a full and independent investigation to find out the circumstances of the accident to ensure something like this never happens again.

"It is a very sad tragedy because the crew is very closely knit and it will be a great sadness to all concerned."

There are around 300 crew on board the Saga Rose and anyone wanting to go inside the ballast tank would need written permission and a safety officer as it is an out-of-bounds area, the spokesman said.

James Duguid, managing director of Saga Shipping, arrived at the scene later in the afternoon.

The ship was built in 1965, and has been operating as Saga Rose since 1996.

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