24 Apr 2011

Woman dropped in freezing ocean dies in hospital

1:03 pm on 24 April 2011

A British woman who was dropped into the sea off Norway while being taken off a cruise ship last month has died in hospital in England.

Janet Richardson, 73, became ill on a Scandanavian cruise, and as paramedics tried to transfer her to a lifeboat, her stretcher dropped into the sea.

Eyewitnesses said the ship and lifeboat moved apart as the transfer was taking place.

She spent eight minutes in the near-freezing waters of the Arctic Ocean before being rescued, the BBC reports.

UK cruise operator Cruise and Maritime Voyages said it was deeply shocked.

A spokesman said the company was co-operating with the Norwegian authorities which are carrying out an investigation.

Mrs Richardson had been struck down with internal bleeding on the voyage from Hull to Norway. She had hoped to see the Northern Lights with her 78-year-old husband, the BBC says.