UK weather: Man killed after huge wave breaks window of cruise ship Marco Polo in English Channel as storms set to continue

A woman in her 70s was also airlifted off the ship after water crashed through a window injuring several passengers

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The Independent Online

A passenger on a cruise ship has been killed in the English Channel and another airlifted to shore after their vessel was hit by a freak wave on Friday.

Water came crashing through a window of the ship injuring a number of the 735 mainly British passengers.

The 85-year-old man died after being airlifted off the ship. The second passenger taken to shore was a woman in her 70s.

The huge wave battered the 22,000-tonne British cruise ship Marco Polo, operated by Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) as it headed for its home port of Tilbury in Essex following a 42-night voyage.

A number of other passengers received minor injuries and were treated on board. The vessel, which had visited the South American Amazon and the Caribbean, is due to dock at Tilbury on Sunday.

The company said: “CMV regrets to advise that earlier today their cruise ship m/s Marco Polo, en-route to her home port of Tilbury from the Azores, was hit by a freak wave during adverse sea conditions in the south western approaches of the English Channel.


“One elderly passenger has died and a further passenger has been airlifted for further shore-side medical assistance. The vessel sailed from Tilbury on January 5 and is carrying 735 mainly British passengers and 349 crew.

“Our thoughts are very much with these passengers and their families during this difficult time.”

The death comes as the extreme weather continues to wreak havoc across Britain, including a landslide on the busy commuter line through Surrey.

The area has suffered lashing wind and rain which is believed to be behind a landslip that has blocked the railway on the Redhill Line out of London, near Merstham Tunnel.

Thousands of passengers face severe delays following the incident and Southern Rail is advising commuters to either get a bus from Purley or travel to Gatwick, where they can catch an alternative train to Redhill.

Tens of thousands of households meanwhile remain without power, with 13,500 of those in mid and north Wales and 17,000 in north-west England, after gusts of up to 108mph battered parts of the country in the “Wild Wednesday” storms, which left one man dead.

The Met Office has warned already ravaged communities to expect more heavy rain on Friday and Saturday, in what it has described as a “multi-pronged attack”. An amber weather warning has been issued for the south east.

At 11pm on Friday, the Environment Agency (EA) had issued 22 severe flood warnings across southern England - meaning there is a risk to life, while a further 500 flood warnings and alerts are also in place across the country.