Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Nightmare Onboard a Swine Flu Cruise Ship

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Nightmare Onboard a Swine Flu Cruise Ship

Article excerpt

Byline: Bianca Clare bianca.clare@dailymercury.com.au

THE Wagstaffs are the scared, confused and frustrated faces of the cruise liner Pacific Dawn's disastrous North Queensland voyage.

Bevan and Vanessa Wagstaff fled the quarantined P&O ship, which is carrying three crew members with swine flu, at an emergency stop near Airlie Beach on Thursday night after their four-year-old daughter Tamzyn fell off a bunk bed and broke her arm.

The young family from Campbelltown in Sydney were taken by a life-raft boat to Abel Point and then by ambulance to Proserpine Hospital.

Pacific Dawn was to have stopped in the Whitsundays, Cairns and Port Douglas on a ten-night cruise after leaving Sydney on Monday night.

But the voyage was turned back, with the ship due to dock for the first time in Brisbane this morning.

Mr Wagstaff yesterday told the Daily Mercury, from the courtyard of the hospital, about the fear he and his five-months-pregnant wife felt during their ordeal.

"Tamzyn and her younger sister Sienna were watching the cartoons on the top bunk in the cabin and the next minute she went hand first towards the ground, dropping nearly two metres," he said.

"She was screaming in pain."

Mr Wagstaff said at first his family were told that they might not be able to get off the quarantined swine flu ship which led to a bit of a commotion from the rest of the passengers with them saying "let's get them off, let's get them off."

"People were panicking, no-one knew anything," he said.

"My wife was an absolute wreck. It was actually pretty scary.

"When we got onto the little boat, we didn't know where we were going.

"The guys on the life-raft boat were from the P&O Vanuatu side of things, they didn't know any English.

"It was just the four of us in this little boat in the darkness not knowing anything."

Mr Wagstaff said the P&O cruise ship should never have been allowed to leave Sydney on Monday night.

Authorities allowed 2000 passengers from a previous Pacific Dawn cruise to disembark in Sydney despite a suspected flu outbreak onboard. …

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