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The coast off northern Norway near where the incident happened (File photo) Hakon Mosvold Larsen/Scanpix

Pensioner dropped into the freezing North sea by medics

Janet Richardson was left in the sub-zero sea waters after a bungled rescue attempt in the North Sea. She survived but is reported to be fighting for her life.

A SERIOUSLY ILL British tourist fell into the sub-zero temperatures of the North Sea during a botched rescue attempt from a cruise ship.

Janet Richardson, 73, was on the Ocean Countess cruiseliner near the Arctic circle when she fell seriously ill and it was decided she should be moved to a hospital in nearby Norway, reports the BBC.

However, as she was being lifted from the ship to the rescue boat, her stretcher slipped from the grasp of the rescuers and she fell into the water which was about -3 degree celsius at the time.

It is reported that it took rescuers almost eight minutes to retrieve her from the sub zero temperatures.

Fellow passenger Colin Prescott witnessed the botched rescue attempt and told The Guardian: “The vessels, which had not been latched together, suddenly moved apart by several feet just as they were transferring her, which caused the rescue crews to drop the stretcher into the sea.

The Sun carries pictures of the incident and quotes her husband George, 78, admitting: “I really thought I’d lost her.”

Eventually Richardson, originally from Cumbria, was transported to a hospital in Bodø, Norway where she was accompanied by her husband.

She is now back at Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary in the UK where she is reported to be fighting for her life.

Cruise and Maritime Voyages, who operated the cruise, said that a full investigation was taking place.

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