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|Grandmother who was dropped into the Arctic Ocean dies|
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Photo: PATRICK HILL
Mrs Richardson, 73, from near Penrith, Cumbria, was taken ill on the Ocean Countess and fell into the sea while being stretchered onto a rescue vessel.
She spent almost eight minutes in the near-freezing Arctic Ocean before being rescued and taken to hospital in Norway. She was later flown to Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle, but died there on Thursday evening.
Mrs Richardson, who had diabetes, left Hull on March 20, on a voyage to Norway to see the Northern Lights with her husband George, a retired farmer.
Mr Richardson, 78, said: “Unfortunately Janet died peacefully on Thursday night in the Cumberland infirmary with her family and friends around her.
“We are devastated by her loss, but it brings me some comfort to know that we were with her at the end.
“She was an energetic woman who loved gardening, sailing and diving.
“We had been married for 30 years and had eight grandchildren.
“I won’t be taking any action against anybody for what has happened. I want to move forward.”
When she suffered internal bleeding on March 28, the captain of the Ocean Countess, operated by the UK company Cruise and Maritime Voyages, called for assistance to take her to hospital.
As she was being lifted from the ship to the rescue boat, the two vessels drifted apart, her stretcher slipped from the grasp of the rescuers, and she fell into the sea. Mrs Richardson, who was wearing a lifebelt, was eventually hauled on to the lifeboat and transported to Bodø, just north of the Arctic Circle.
The incident, which was captured on film by another passenger, is under investigation by the cruise company and the Norwegian rescue authorities.
In a statement, North Cumbria University Hospitals announced on Saturday that Mrs Richardson had died on April 21, and added: “Respecting the family’s wishes we have no further comment at this time.”
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