A CRUISE ship passenger has told of his personal sadness over the lifeboat disaster which killed five crew.
Barrie Matkin, 70, holidayed on the Thomson Majesty in the Canary Islands before an emergency drill took a tragic turn.
The entertainer, from Gwernymynydd, whose stage name is Barrie Martin, fears those killed and injured could be staff he and his wife Marilyn got to know during the cruise.
A lifeboat fell from the ship docked at Santa Cruz de la La Palma just after midday on Sunday, killing five and injuring three.
It is believed the boat capsized after dropping 60 feet into the sea.
“We were on the ship last month and we did the exact same cruise they are on now,” said Mr Matkin, of Godre’r Coed, who tours the North Wales coast singing and playing guitar.
“When you are a passenger you get to know the crew.
“I worked as an entertainer on cruise ships for several years in the 80s so I am very familiar with life on the cruise ships and I did get chatting to a lot of the crew.
“They were great. We don’t yet know the names of those who have died so I don’t know if we knew any of them.
“They put on a show for us so the guys who were killed could have been in that show. It’s very sad.
“The Majesty was a really happy ship.
“The crew were lovely, always smiling and happy, that’s why it’s upset me so much.
“The crew were so likeable, like one big family.
“For this to happen it would have absolutely floored everybody.
“You’ve got 1,400 passengers, the ship won’t be able to sail as there will be an investigation so their holiday is as good as finished.
“It will be a nightmare. The crew will all be upset. It would be a terrible atmosphere.
“We are absolutely devastated and feel very sorry for the crew.
“Many passengers we met had been on Thomson cruises before so they also knew the crew.
“There’s a big rapport.
“I know it’s going to upset many people in Britain. I hope the crew are going to get through it OK.”
A spokesman for Thomson said: “Thomson Cruises can confirm there was an incident involving the ship’s crew during a safety drill on board Thomson Majesty, in La Palma, Canary Islands yesterday (Sunday) at 11.50am local time.
“We can also confirm that there have sadly been five crew fatalities and three crew injuries.
“All three have been discharged from hospital and are back on board the ship. Our thoughts are with the families of those involved.
“We are working closely with the ship owners and managers, Louis Cruises, to determine exactly what has happened and provide assistance to those affected by the incident.
“We are also working closely with all relevant authorities and are co-operating fully with their investigations.
“As the authorities are currently conducting their investigations, we are awaiting confirmation of when the ship can continue with the cruise.
“We hope to receive this this morning and will advise customers as soon as we have an update.”