12 die in Queen Mary II disaster

15th November 2003, Comments 0 comments

SAINT NAZAIRE, France, Nov 15 – At least twelve people died and 22 others were injured, 10 of them seriously, in an accident Saturday during a group visit on the Queen Mary II, the world's largest-ever passenger ship under construction in Saint Nazaire, in western France.

SAINT NAZAIRE, France, Nov 15  – At least twelve people died and 22 others were injured, 10 of them seriously, in an accident Saturday during a group visit on the Queen Mary II, the world's largest-ever passenger ship under construction in Saint Nazaire, in western France.

The dead and injured fell some 15 metres from a passage way leading to the ship which collapsed as the visit began, at around 2.15pm.

The vessel was in dry dock at the Saint Nazaire shipyard in southern Brittany, where the finishing touches are being made before its completion, due by January.

Emergency officials said there were around 30 people on the elevated passage-way, including children, taking part in the visit.

Early reports said the group were made up of family and guests of construction engineers and managers.

Fire brigade paramedical services at first reported that several children were among those who died in the collapse of a passage-way onboard the Queen Mary II.

A spokesman for a local hospital said the victims had fallen from a great height.

The Queen Mary II has been undergoing sea-trials and is due to be handed over to the Cunard shipping line next month, with an official launch attended by Queen Elizabeth II of England in Southampton on January 8.

The ship returned to port at Saint-Nazaire, on France's Atlantic coast, on Tuesday after a successful series of tests.

The Queen Mary II is due to operate as a cruise liner, carrying out about 20 trans-Atlantic crossings every year. It has space for 2,600 passengers and 1,250 crew.

It measures 345 metres (1,132 feet) in length and 62 metres (203 feet) high from above the waterline - the equivalent of a 23-storey building. It has a 1,000 seat theatre, a planetarium, five swimming-pools and a ball-room.

Built by the troubled French engineering giant Alstom, the ship was sold for USD 800 million to the Carnival group which owns the historic Cunard line.

Expatica France News with AFP

Subject: French news





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