PICTURES: JOHN SAWYER
TWO passengers and three crew members on board the MSC Fantasia, the largest passenger ship ever constructed for a European ship owner, were rushed to hospitals in Palma yesterday after the giant liner on her maiden visit to Majorca slipped her moorings in the Port of Palma causing the main walkway to the passenger terminal to give way as passengers began to disembark.
One of the passengers fell from a height of about seven metres in to the sea and three crew members dived in to save him.
The 80-year-old Italian passenger apparently suffered serious head injuries after colliding with the hull of the liner.
A major emergency operation was mounted immediately with a fleet of ambulances descending on the port but fortunately, the four were plucked from the water quickly and rushed to hospital - the three crew suffering from mild hypothermia but the 80-year-old was in intensive care last night.
The fifth victim suffered an anxiety attack while a handful of other passengers were treated at the scene for mild panic attacks.
The MSC Fantasia had moored up in Palma shortly after 11am but the incident happened at 2.30 pm when, according to eyewitness and super yacht skipper John Sawyer there was a big bang.
I was on my balcony taking a look at the liner when I heard this big bang.
Being a skipper of large yachts I knew this was not normal so I rushed down to the port to see what happened.
There were ambulances everywhere and a lot of very nervous and alarmed passengers - some of whom were being treated for panic attacks at the scene.
It was immediately clear that the cruise ship had slipped her moorings and appeared to have been drifting across to the outer quay of the Dique del Oeste where the ferries normally berth, Sawyer, a member of the Swedish Press Photographers Association, explained.