Sunday 16 June 2019

Dance teacher who claims she fractured elbow on excursion from cruise sues in High Court

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Tim Healy

A woman who claims she fractured her elbow while on a shore excursion during a once-in-a-lifetime cruise has sued in the High Court.

Dance teacher Siobhan Kellett injured herself during a 'White Knuckle Boat Ride' - involving 360 degrees turns - in the middle of the ocean,the court was told.

Ms Kellett was on a seven night Caribbean cruise in 2016 to celebrate both her 50th birthday and silver wedding anniversary before going on for five days in Las Vegas where she and her husband Leslie planned to dance at a jive festival.

Their cruise ship docked at St Martin in the West Indies where they were taken on the excursion.

She said she was thrown out of her seat during the White Knuckle ride and banged her elbow against the metal side of the boat during two 360 degree manoeuvres.

It was the fifth day of the €3,674 cruise for Ms Kellett and her husband who had paid for the trip by instalments over two years.

“We were out in the middle of the ocean and I was holding on tight but I banged my head against the skipper", she said of the first 360 degree turn.

The skipper then signalled for her to change places with her husband and so she was on the outside seat.

On the next spin she said she was hanging on tight to the bar in front of them but she was lifted out of her seat.

"I remember thinking what was I going to do, tumble in to the water but I came back down on the  seat and and was thrown against the side of the boat and my right arm banged against the side."

The pain, she said, was horrendous. She felt like a child "trying to be very very brave" because she did not want to ruin the excursion for everybody else.

Later back on the cruise liner, she was told by a medic her elbow was not broken.

However, on her return to Dublin weeks later, she had an x-ray and a non displaced fracture of her right elbow was discovered.

Ms Kellett (53)  Rockfield Green, Maynooth, Co Kildare, has sued British company, RCL Cruises, of Weybridge, Surrey, operators of the "Freedom of the Seas" cruiser.

It is claimed the cruise company was responsible for the excursion to the  White Knuckle boat ride.

She has also sued Panther Associates, trading as Tour America, of Middle Abbey Street, Dublin, where she booked the April 2016 holiday.

She has claimed there was an alleged failure to provide any or any adequate safety restraints, harness or belts on the jet boat to ensure passengers were kept safe from injury.

The claims are denied.

It is contended by the defendants Ms Kellett failed to follow instructions and failed to have regard for her own safety.

In evidence Ms Kellett said the accident brought a halt to the enjoyment of their holiday and it  cast a shadow over the rest of their trip including to Las Vegas.

Cross examined by Jim O'Callaghan SC, for  the defendants, Ms Kellett said she has been on roller coaster rides before and felt perfectly safe.

Asked by counsel did she see the  boat ride as risky, she replied “ I did not see it as being dangerous at all.”

The case, before Mr Justice Anthony Barr, continues.

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