Dramatic video has emerged showing a pensioner being airlifted from a cruise ship in the middle of the sea after he required emergency treatment for what was eventually diagnosed as Legionnaires’ disease.
Frank Standen, the 84-year-old holidaymaker featured in the footage, fell severely ill on board MS Black Watch and has now received an out-of-court five-figure settlement from Fred Olsen Cruise Lines.
Mr Standen, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, spent about three months in hospital and said he is ‘lucky to be alive’ after the nightmare experience at sea. The retired insurance broker fell seriously ill as he and his 83-year-old wife, Patricia, sailed from Southampton to Cape Verde in November 2011. Just a few days after leaving the ship’s home port, Mr Standen began to suffer headaches, a high temperature and tiredness, and his condition worsened as the cruise went on.
Doctors on board the ship prescribed antibiotics, but his symptoms became so bad he was taken to a hospital for a chest X-ray when the ship arrived at Cape Verde. He returned to the ship, but continued to suffer severe symptoms and had to be airlifted to a hospital in Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands, by a helicopter search and rescue team.
Mr Standen was admitted to an intensive care unit and was unconscious for three out of the seven weeks he spent in the Spanish hospital.