Inquest records verdict on cruise ship passenger

THE death of a ferry passenger who was killed when a large wave smashed through a restaurant window was an accident, an inquest has found.

James Swinstead, 85, from Colchester, died in February on the Marco Polo in the English Channel.

The inquest in Chelmsford heard that a 15m high wave smashed into the side of the ship smashing four windows and instantly killing Mr Swinstead.

Essex coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The ship was heading to Tilbury when the wave struck it in the English Channel on Friday

Four windows were smashed when the wave struck the Marco Polo in the English Channel

The inquest was told that rapidly-changing weather conditions could not have been foreseen.

The Bahamas Maritime Authority has since brought in bespoke weather reports for its cruise ships.

Ms Beasley-Murray said: "In light of all the evidence that has been heard before this court I shall record a conclusion on the record of inquest – that is answering how he died – that James Malcolm Swinstead died as a result of an accident, a tragic accident.

"He clearly was a much-loved gentleman."

The Bahamas-registered passenger cruise was heading for its home port of Tilbury, Essex, at the end of a 42-night voyage when it was hit by an "extremely large" wave, at about 13:05 GMT on 14 February.

It was carrying 735 passengers and 349 crew.

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