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Five Killed And Three Injured In Canary Islands Cruise Ship Horror

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Five people have been killed after a lifeboat fell from a cruise ship in the Canary Islands.

The ship's operator - UK-based tour company Thomson Cruises - said the incident in the port of Santa Cruz in La Palma involved the vessel's crew.

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An orange rescue boat docks by a capsized lifeboat

A spokesman 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 on Sunday at 11.50am local time.

"We can also confirm that there have sadly been five crew fatalities and three crew members injured."

All of the staff who died were men - three from Indonesia, one from the Philippines and one from Ghana.

Thomson Cruises said one of the injured people had been discharged from hospital, and it expected the two others to be released soon.

About 1,400 passengers were aboard at the time, but none were involved in the accident.

Investigators are trying to determine what caused the lifeboat to plummet into the water before capsizing.

Rescue personnel were called to the dockside after "a lifeboat with occupants had fallen overboard from a cruise ship docked at the pier of Santa Cruz port in La Palma," a regional government statement said.

A small, white two-hulled lifeboat could be seen capsized beside the large ship.

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The ship had been due to sail on Sunday afternoon to the Portuguese port of Funchal on the mid-Atlantic island of Madeira.

The Thomson Cruises spokesman added: "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 will be co-operating fully with their investigations."

Thomson and the Foreign Office said there were no Britons involved.

The local authorities of La Palma cancelled Carnival festivities that had been due to be held on the island today, but said they would go ahead as planned on Monday.

The incident happened just 13 months after the cruise industry was rocked by the Costa Concordia tragedy in which 32 people died.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: "The thoughts of all seafarers will be with the friends and families of those who have lost their lives in this tragic incident.

"Once again the spotlight is on the issue of safety in the UK shipping and cruise industry and RMT awaits the outcome of the investigation and recommendations that can prevent any repetition of today's shocking events."