Magician on cruise ship was witness to lifeboat tragedy in which five died
A BURTON magician "watched in horror" as a lifeboat fell from a cruise ship on which he was serving – killing five people.
Jack Dent, of Stanton Road, Stapenhill, was only yards away as the tragedy unfolded during a routine safety drill on cruise liner Thomson Majesty, as the boat docked at La Palma in the Canary Islands.
The 19-year-old, speaking through his father, David, revealed that he was still in a "state of shock" after watching a cable snap and the lifeboat fall 65ft into the ocean.
He said: "The boat was being brought back aboard the ship following a routine safety drill but as it was coming up at the side of the ship, a cable snapped and it just dropped.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
"Everyone just watched on in horror and we were all helpless to do anything.
"At first we thought that only three people had died, but soon after, the ship's captain announced that five people had lost their lives."
Three other crew members were injured in the incident.
Mr Dent added: "We all knew the people involved as we are like one big family.
"I was in a state of shock and a lot of people on board have been left traumatised.
"This is my first season on the ship and I work as an entertainer, as I'm a magician by trade.
"It's my job during the drills to look after all the passengers on board and do a head-count to make sure that we know where everyone is.
"During the drill, one of the lifeboats is lowered into the water and, after completing a figure of eight, then returns to the ship. This was when tragedy struck.
"I saw the boat drop and I didn't know what to think. It dropped a long way. But we all have to carry on with our work and support the passengers."
The ship is still docked as the crew are waiting for the all-clear to proceed.