July 14, 2012
(10:15 a.m. EDT) -- Fire broke out Friday on a river cruise ship sailing the Rhine, necessitating the evacuation of more than 100 elderly passengers and about 30 crewmembers, according to a report from Seatrade Insider.
The Dutch ship, Regina Rheni II, owned by Rijfers River Cruises, was carrying Saga Holidays passengers. They were transferred onto Swiss Sapphire, a Tauck river ship, which happened to be nearby, and transported to shore after the incident. (Tauck representative Tom Armstrong says Swiss Sapphire continued on its planned itinerary and is now back on schedule.)
All passengers were checked by a physician; 10 complained of smoke inhalation, and four were taken to a local hospital. Remaining passengers were initially put up at a hotel in Dusseldorf, and all -- except one woman who suffered an asthma attack and will return on Sunday -- are now back in the U.K., according to Saga representative Paul Green.
The fire began in the early-morning hours and took about three hours for a local fire brigade to extinguish, but its origin is somewhat unclear, with Seatrade stating it began in a storage room near the galley and Travel Weekly claiming it started in the engine room.
Saga representatives were unable to comment on the official source of the fire, but they did tell Cruise Critic that all passengers will be issued full refunds and compensated for personal property damaged by smoke.
--by Ashley Kosciolek, Copy Editor