Five crew die during cruise ship safety drill

4:27am February 11, 2013
Five crew members from the British cruise ship Thomson Majesty have died and three are others have been injured after a lifeboat fell between 20 and 30 metres during a training drill in the Canary Islands

A lifeboat from a British-operated cruise ship has fallen upside down into the sea at port in Spain's Canary Islands during a safety drill, killing five crew members and injuring three others.

About 1400 passengers were on board the ship, but none were involved in the accident, officials said.

Thomson Cruises confirmed the incident involving the Thomson Majesty ship on the island of La Palma, saying "there have sadly been five crew fatalities and three crew injuries".

"One person has been discharged from hospital and we expect the other two people to be released from hospital imminently," the British company said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with the families of those involved."

Investigators were trying to determine what caused the lifeboat to plummet into the water.

Rescue personnel were called to the dockside at 1205 GMT (2305 AEDT) on Sunday after "a lifeboat with occupants had fallen overboard from a cruise ship docked at the pier of Santa Cruz port in La Palma", a regional government statement said.

A small, white two-hulled lifeboat could be seen capsized beside the large ship.

It is believed the boat dropped between 20 and 30 metres into the water.

The ship had been due to sail on Sunday afternoon to the Portuguese port of Funchal on the island of Madeira.

Three of the dead were Indonesian men, one was a Filipino man and another was a man from Ghana, authorities said. The injured were all men, two aged 30 and another, a Greek national, was 32.

© AAP 2014
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