British pensioner survives being dropped into ocean

21st April 2011, Comments 0 comments

An elderly British woman taken ill on a cruise along the Norway coast was dropped into the Arctic Ocean as paramedics tried to transfer her off the ship, the holiday company said Thursday.

Janet Richardon, 73, was left floating in freezing waters for eight minutes until rescuers finally plucked her to safety and took her to hospital.

Pictures showed the distraught grandmother trying desperately to stay afloat in rough waters after she had been dropped.

"It was very traumatic to see her fall in. I thought I was going to lose her," her husband George Richardson, 78, told Britain's Sun newspaper.

The elderly couple were on the howeward leg of a two-week voyage from Britain to see the natural phenomenon known as the Northern Lights when she started to suffer from internal bleeding on March 29.

Norwegian rescuers were dispatched in a boat to take her off the cruise liner, the Ocean Countess, but as they were moving her to the rescue vessel, the stretcher slipped from their hands.

"Mrs Richardson was rescued and immediately transferred to the Norwegian port of Bodo, approximately two nautical miles away and was transferred to the local hospital," said a statement from holiday company Cruise and Maritime Voyages.

She was later transferred to a British hospital where she is still being treated.

© 2011 AFP

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