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'Freak wave' kills cruise ship passenger

2:55 PM, Feb 15, 2014   |    comments
The cruise ship Marco Polo was hit by a "freak wave" as it sailed into the English Channel, according to Cruise & Maritime Voyages.
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A passenger aboard a British-based cruise ship was killed and another airlifted to shore after the ship was hit by a "freak wave during adverse sea conditions," according to Cruise & Maritime Voyages.

Fourteen others were injured when 80-mph wind gusts kicked up giant waves in the English Channel on Friday afternoon, killing the 85-year-old passenger.

Cruise and Maritime Voyages said a "freak wave" broke five windows on its Marco Polo cruise ship, inundating the ship's Waldorf Restaurant.

"One elderly passenger has died and a further passenger has been airlifted for further shore-side medical assistance," the cruise line's statement reads. "The vessel sailed from Tilbury on January 5 and is carrying 735 mainly British passengers and 349 crew."

It continues: "Our thoughts are very much with these passengers and their families during this difficult time."

London officials said 22 severe flood warnings are in place.

The army rescued 30 people from a seafront restaurant in Hampshire, southwest of London, after high winds blew a shingle through its windows, allowing floodwaters in.

Strong winds killed a taxi driver in Central London whose car was crushed by falling chunks of stone from a building.

The taxi driver was killed late Friday in central London near Holborn subway station during a windstorm, police said. She was identified as Julie Sillitoe, a 49-year-old with three sons.

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