Tourist sues long-time Cairns operator over cruise

A WOMAN is suing a long-time Cairns tourism operator for nearly $2m in damages, claiming her cruise to Fitzroy Island was so rough she was thrown around numerous times, causing injuries to her spine, pelvis, genitals and jaw.

In a statement lodged with the Rockhampton Supreme Court last December, Diane Trudy Hayers, 57, also claims the incident with Raging Thunder left her with double vision and "visual disturbance".

Ms Hayers is suing the company for $1.93m in damages that includes past and potential future income losses, special damages and medical and ongoing care expenses.

Court documents served on Raging Thunder state that during Ms Hayers' cruise on the company's Thunderbolt boat on October 10, 2017 she was thrown up and down numerous times when the boat went at about 26 knots, or about 50km/h, over three waves near Cape Grafton, Yarrabah.

Ms Hayers claims the company failed three key duties during the cruise, which was marketed as the "Thunderbolt Half Day": taking all reasonable care and precaution, minimising risks of injuries and operating the boat "in a manner that was safe for the prevailing weather and sea conditions". She claims the skipper of the boat did not warn passengers about the third larger wave and did not slow down or take any safe approach when they encountered the waves.

"In the circumstances, a reasonable person in the defendant's position would have taken precautions given the probability that injury would occur," her claim states.

A view from Fitzroy Island. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Dan Peled
A view from Fitzroy Island. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Dan Peled

"The risk of injury to the plaintiff was foreseeable … the risk of the injury was not insignificant."

Ms Hayers' most serious injury was a crushed fracture of her upper spine, assessed as "extreme thoracic spine injury" and she needs help from family and friends doing chores around the home.

In addition to the personal injuries, Ms Hayers claims the incident resulted in her being diagnosed with major depressive disorder and/or adjustment disorder with depressed and anxious mood, impacting her work and social activities.

Raging Thunder has yet to file a statement in response.

Both the company and Ms Hayers' solicitor, Vaughan Jackson, have been contacted for comment.

Originally published as Tourist sues long-time Cairns operator over cruise


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