Facebook Twitter

SHIP’S CREW BLAMED FOR MAN’S DEATH

SHARE SHIP’S CREW BLAMED FOR MAN’S DEATH

As the scorched Achille Lauro sank Friday into the Indian Ocean, a surviving passenger blamed the crew for dropping inflatable rafts on top of a crowded lifeboat, injuring one man who later died.

The victim was one of two elderly passengers who died as a result of the fire on the Italian luxury liner. The 979 passengers and crew who survived were headed for three African and Middle Eastern ports aboard 10 rescue vessels, including freighters and U.S. warships. They abandoned the blazing ship Wednesday.The Achille Lauro was once a gleaming blue-and-white luxury liner that sailed around the world in 80 days. But it was best known for the 1985 hijacking by Palestinian terrorists, who killed an elderly Jewish American passenger, Leon Klinghoffer, and dumped his body overboard in his wheelchair.

The terrorists escaped aboard a jet, but U.S. fighter planes forced the plane down in Italy, and the hijackers were arrested and later tried.

Eight people were injured in the fire, which began in the engine room before dawn. Lifeboats and rafts were launched and the ship was abandoned.

According to passenger Geoffrey Wall, interviewed Friday by Britain's Sky TV, one man was injured when crew members released inflatable rafts onto the lifeboat, which held 35 people.

"It was tilting at an angle," said Wall, a Briton, describing attempts to lower a lifeboat. "They dropped two of these inflatable life boats on top of us, resulting in injury to one man."