Wednesday 16 October 2019

Five hurt as an out-of-control cruise ship rams tourist boat and quayside in Venice

Lucky escape: Engineers look at the damaged River Countess tourist boat alongside the MSC Opera cruise ship, which struck it. Photo: ANDREA PATTARO/AFP/Getty Images
Lucky escape: Engineers look at the damaged River Countess tourist boat alongside the MSC Opera cruise ship, which struck it. Photo: ANDREA PATTARO/AFP/Getty Images

Luca Bruno

A towering, out-of-control cruise ship rammed into a dock and a tourist river boat on a busy Venice canal yesterday, injuring five tourists and sparking new calls for curbs on cruise ships in the famed city.

The collision happened about 8.30am on the Giudecca Canal, a major thoroughfare that leads to St Mark's Square in the north-eastern Italian city.

The giant vessel is believed to have broken free from its tugboats, leading it to hit the other boat and smash into the quayside. Photo: REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri
The giant vessel is believed to have broken free from its tugboats, leading it to hit the other boat and smash into the quayside. Photo: REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri

The cruise ship, apparently unable to stop, blared its horn as it slammed into the much smaller river boat and the dock as dozens of people ran away in panic.

Elisabetta Pasqualin was watering plants on her terrace when she heard warning sirens and stepped out to see the crash.

She described the ship "advancing slowly but inevitably towards the dock". She said "the bow of the ship crashed hard into the bank" with its massive weight crushing a big piece of it.

When the cruise ship rammed the river boat, she said the smaller vessel looked like it was "made of plastic or paper" rather than steel.

Crashed: MSC Opera cruise ship was badly damaged on its hull. Photo: REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri
Crashed: MSC Opera cruise ship was badly damaged on its hull. Photo: REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri

Medical authorities say four female tourists - an American, a New Zealander and two Australians between the ages of 67 and 72 - were injured falling or trying to run away when the cruise ship rammed into the tourist boat, the River Countess.

The cruise ship's owner, MSC Cruises, said the ship was about to dock at a passenger terminal in Venice when it had a mechanical problem. Two tugboats guiding the cruise ship into Venice tried to stop the massive vessel, but a cable snapped.

San Basilio dock pictured after the cruise ship crashed into the quayside. Photo: REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri
San Basilio dock pictured after the cruise ship crashed into the quayside. Photo: REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri

Irish Independent

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