A 73-year-old British woman took seriously ill recently on a Scandinavian cruise ship in the Norwegian Sea.  As Norwegian Coast Guard workers attempted to take her off the ship, she was accidentally dropped into the near-freezing water.

Janet Richardson spent four minutes in the sea; her husband, George Richardson, said she had to be resuscitated when she finally reached the rescue boat.  While being lowered 25 feet, the two ships separated and the stretcher she was on slipped from the control of her rescuers.

Workers had to leave her in the water while they steered the boat away so she wouldn’t be crushed.  She has been hospitalized for three weeks, including one week in intensive care.

Her husband discussed the events with the Associated Press.  “The stretcher went into the water and she fell into the water too as she was not strapped in,” he said.  “She had a life jacket on and I could see her swimming, treading water and trying to stay afloat.”

Richardson, a retired farmer, continued “the boats were not tied together. They were just side-by-side on the water when the stern of the rescue boat moved away. I don’t know why this is the case.”

Norwegian police have launched an investigation into the incident.  Norwegian Sea Rescue spokesman, Ernst Larsen, confirmed the coast guard is conducting their own inquiry.

According to the cruise organizer, Richardson became ill and was suffering from internal bleeding eight days into a two week cruise.  She was experiencing dizziness and had low blood pressure, prompting the captain to arrange for a shore transfer.

“Janet had always wanted to go on a cruise to the fjords and to see the northern lights,” said her husband.