Dolphin watching cruise almost ends in disaster as young girl falls overboard

A YOUNG girl has been saved from drowning by the quick response of the crew of the cruise vessel from which she fell.

The girl and her family had been passengers on a dolphin watching cruise operated by Imagine Cruises out of D’albora Marina in Nelson Bay.

“The girl and a friend had been sitting together in the net at the bow of the vessel,” said Frank Future, Imagine’s General Manager.

“A freak swell came very suddenly and the boat lurched, and unfortunately the young girl fell into the water.”

According to an eyewitness, after falling into the water the boat passed over the girl, though the skipper was quick to respond, halting the vessel and calling his crew to action.

“Very fortunately, our crew did exactly what we’re trained to do when this kind of thing happens,” said Frank.

Upon retrieving the girl from the water, the boat was immediately returned to the Marina so that the girl could be assessed for injury.

She appeared to have suffered no significant harm.

“She was very shaken up, of course.

“In 28 years of operating, this is the first time anything like this has happened,” Frank responded when asked whether there were any safety concerns to address.

“We’ve interviewed the crew and conducted a review of our own safety procedures, lodging reports with RMS and AMSA.”

According to management, Imagine Cruises complies with all requirements of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, and there has been no concern or suggestion that the company or crew are in any way at fault.

“Freak occurrences like this are impossible to predict.

“I’d particularly like to honour the actions of the crew member who dove into the water within seconds,” Frank said.

Passengers of the cruise were offered replacement bookings following the event.

By Lindsay HALL

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