5 killed in cruise ship safety drill gone wrong

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LA PALMA, Canary Islands – A safety drill gone wrong on a cruise ship resulted in the death of five crew members in Spain’s Canary Islands, Thomson Cruises said.

Three other workers were injured, the cruise line said. The accident happened just before noon Sunday on board the Thomson Majesty while it was docked in La Palma, one of the Canary Islands.

As part of the drill, a lifeboat was lowered into the water to test the evacuation procedure for passengers.

“Unfortunately, when the boat was being raised back up, one of the wires snapped, resulting in the boat falling back into the water,” a Thomson representative said via e-mail Monday.

There were 1,498 passengers on board. It is customary for crew members to get into lifeboats during a drill, Thomson said, but passengers do not board them. No passengers were injured.

Investigations are being conducted by Thomson Cruises, Spanish maritime authorities, the ship’s flag state of Malta and ship classification company DNV, the cruise line said.

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of all those involved,” Thomson said.