Grandmother was crushed to death on cruise holiday

Mary Atherton of Penwortham who died after being crushed on a cruise holiday.
Mary Atherton of Penwortham who died after being crushed on a cruise holiday.
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An inquest has opened into the death of a grandmother on a cruise holiday.

Preston Coroner’s Court heard that Mary Atherton, 75, died as a result of extensive skull fractures, having been crushed between a pontoon and a steel tender she was travelling on, on her way back from an afternoon’s trip to the shores of Cambodia.

The retired teacher of Ashtree Grove, Penwortham, had been holidaying with friend Una McDermott on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth ship.

Coroner Dr James Adeley said: “The tender has come alongside the pontoon moored to it. Mrs Atherton has gone to disembark.

“She had a crewman on one side of her and a passenger on the other.

“As she steps forward a gap opens and she is crushed between the side of the tender and the pontoon.

“She was released by the others and then floats out between the tender and pontoon.

“There are reports of blood in the water.

“Nothing in witness evidence indicates a loss of consciousness prior to the fall.”

The court heard that Mrs Atherton suffered from mobility problems and Ménière’s disease - which can affect balance.

But her son, Michael Atherton, and Mrs McDermott said Mrs Atherton had not complained of any problems prior to the incident.

The case continues.