Titanic cruise ship forced to turn back briefly

Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:27pm EDT
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By Chris Helgren

ON BOARD MS BALMORAL (Reuters) - A cruise ship retracing the Titanic's fateful voyage 100 years ago was forced to turn back towards Ireland on Tuesday after a passenger developed heart problems.

The Balmoral is carrying 1,309 passengers, about the same number as were on the Titanic. Among them are relatives of those who lost their lives, relatives of survivors and historians.

The Titanic Memorial Cruise had departed from Southampton, England, on Sunday to follow the doomed ship's route to New York.

The passengers had intended to hold a memorial service at the spot where it sank on the night of April 14-15.

The Balmoral had left the port of Cobh in Ireland late on Monday night and was sailing through heavy weather when Captain Robert Bamberg announced on Tuesday afternoon it would have to turn back to return within helicopter range of Ireland to allow the sick passenger to be evacuated.

The vessel was able to return to its scheduled route after an Irish coastguard helicopter arrived and hoisted aboard the sick passenger. The captain said the pickup had been a success.

Miles Morgan, Managing Director of Miles Morgan Travel which chartered the journey, had told reporters the ship would go back about 20 nautical miles to get within helicopter range.

"The passenger's condition is not thought to be life-threatening," he said.   Continued...

John Philip (C) of South Coast, New South Wales, Australia adjusts his period bowler hat while donning a life jacket, during a drill on board the Titanic Memorial Cruise in Southampton, England April 8, 2012. The cruise is to retrace the voyage of the ill-fated Titanic liner, which hit an iceberg and sank 100 years ago on April 15, 1912. REUTERS/Chris Helgren