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Injured cruise passengers safe

Published: 12:13PM Thursday July 31, 2008 Source: ONE News/Newstalk ZB

The battered and bruised passengers from a cruise ship hammered by the wild weather have just landed in Auckland.

Safety inspectors from Maritime New Zealand are checking over the Pacific Sun liner following its arrival on Friday, a day later than originally scheduled.

Forty two passengers received medical attention after the vessel was hit by the severe weather conditions and suffered a sudden heavy roll on Wednesday night.

Two, who have injuries which include a broken pelvis, require further medical treatment.

Maritime NZ spokesman, Ross Henderson, says an inspector has gone on board.

The ship, returning from an eight-day cruise in the Pacific, ran into 50 knot winds and seven-metre swells 600 kilometres north of Auckland, causing it to roll sharply.

One of the passengers on the ship, Dave, says a number of passengers have severe injuries and are in a makeshift hospital in one of the lounges.

Dave says the incident was pretty hairy and the crew were in life jackets helping people, though passengers never had to don them.

The crew have been praised for their actions during the storm. Passengers say they have been magnificent, particularly the captain, who updated them every 15 minutes on what he was doing.

One man's wife was on the boat with a group of friends, who say several people in the dining room received broken arms.

One passenger says gaming machines in the casino tipped over, just about every glass on board was smashed and people were thrown from their cabins.

"One of the machines fell towards me. I'm really lucky, lucky to be alive I guess," says Theona Wright, passenger.

While it was a mid-winter voyage some will never repeat, for others it was an adventure.

"My wife is limping and I have cracked a shoulder blade but apart from that we enjoyed ourselves," says Derick Woods, passenger.

Kim, a Christchurch resident, has been trying to contact her elderly father, sister and friends on the cruise.

She says they were told Tuesday morning that the ship was going to be delayed because of the weather, but did not know about the injuries until hearing the news through the media.

P&O says it's offering a discount.

"We're giving passengers a discount on a future cruise," says Sandy Olsen, P&O Cruises.

P&O Cruises Australia have made headlines before with sailings cancelled after the Pacific Sun's sister ship set sail in other storms.

However, P&O defends its captain's decision to set sail this time around.

"He (the captain) made his decision to sail based on the assessment of all the available information he had at the time," says Olsen.

The Pacific Sun liner is due to leave on its next Pacific voyage on Saturday night.

Do you have any images or video footage of the incident on the Pacific Sun or have relatives onboard? ONE News would like to hear from you. Send your pictures or message to news@tvnz.co.nz .

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