Dr. Michael Bedford, 70 – Head – Neck Trauma, Classic International Cruises MV Athena Passenger, September 12, 2005, Time of Death is unknown.
Dr. Michael Bedford, 70, of Sark, Channel Islands was sailing aboard Ocean Cruise Holidays – Travelscope MV Athena, which set out on a 24-day Atlantic cruise on September 10, was hit by bad weather two days after leaving Falmouth en route for St John’s, Newfoundland, getting caught in a rough seas caused by a hurricane.
The ship was heading to St John’s, Newfoundland, in Canada, Hurricane Maria carried on for two days, abating slightly on September 13th. Then the ship caught up with Hurricane Ophelia on September 14th.
Bedford was on the cruise with his 63 year old mate, Alice Robson, who is Bedford’s common law wife. She says, before the accident, the couple were on their way to the front of the ship to watch waves crashing over the bow.
It has been noted that waves crashing over the bow were a sign that the hurricane had made conditions at sea unsafe for walking, climbing stairs, or being on deck.
“We were at the top of a flight of steps about to walk down when there was an almighty pitch. Michael was thrown into the air and cleared all the steps before landing at the bottom. I rushed to him and noticed blood coming out of his ear and mouth and realised it was very, very serious.”
The 70-year-old died 15 minutes later.
Passengers said that the cabin furniture was falling and broken, and TVs were being thrown across rooms.
Everywhere you looked someone had a bandage on. Many were ill as a result of the rough seas. Some called their trip of a lifetime a nighmare, others called it diabolical.
Following Mr Bedford’s death, it went straight to Halifax, Nova Scotia, thereby missing the second destination, Sydney in Nova Scotia.
The vessel was also refused entry in Boston before getting to New York earlier than planned.
The 500 passengers paid an average of more than £3,500 each.
Ms Robson is suing the company over the way it handled the entire situation. She claimed passengers were given no safety warnings about the rough conditions until he had died and the crew showed no compassion throughout the following six days that she had to remain onboard.
“Michael was a disciplinarian and would have stayed in his cabin if he had been told to do so by the ship’s captain. He never took chances,’ she said. ‘If they had made warnings, we would not have been moving around the ship and he would still be alive today.”, Robson said.
According to the cruise line, passengers were asked not to move around the vessel unless they really had to and stay seated where possible and they claim the gentleman who died didn’t do that.