Yoga fitness and singing helped Briton survive 10 hours in Adriatic

Haroon Siddique

A British cruise ship passenger rescued after spending 10 hours in the Adriatic Sea has credited singing and her fitness through yoga with helping her to survive her ordeal.

Kay Longstaff, 46, went overboard off the coast of Croatia as the Norwegian Star made its way to Venice. She remained at the naval hospital in Pula, Croatia, on Monday afternoon, although she spoke to a Croatian news channel after her rescue on Sunday and her condition is not believed to be serious.

MailOnline quoted Irena Hrstić, a spokeswoman for the hospital, as saying Longstaff was being “assessed for stress” but is “physically fine”. Hristić described her as young, healthy and sporty, adding: “She is excitedly waiting for her boyfriend to come and take her home.”

Longstaff, who lives in Benalmádena on Spain’s Costa del Sol, reportedly was previously employed as cabin crew for Virgin Atlantic but now works on private planes.

As she continued her recovery, an unnamed rescuer told the Sun: “She [Longstaff] said the fact that she practices yoga helped her, as she was fit. And she said she was singing to not feel cold in the sea overnight.”

The Croatian coastguard said the Cavtat coastguard rescue ship and an aircraft launched a search at about 6.30am local time on Sunday after Longstaff went overboard just before midnight on Saturday.

The ship’s crew spotted her in the sea at about 9.40am and one of the crew dived into the sea to rescue her and take her to hospital.

She was found about a mile from where she went in. David Radas, a Croatian ministry of maritime affairs spokesman, said that by checking CCTV, rescuers knew the exact moment Longstaff went overboard.

“Because they knew the time, they were able to know the exact position of the ship,” he told the Sun.

Last year, Cruise Lines International Association, said that out of more than 24.7 million cruise passengers in 2016, there were nine overboard incidents involving passengers, or about one incident per 2.7 million passengers.

It added: “Without exception, when investigations of MOB [man overboard] incidents are successfully concluded it is found that they were the result of an intentional or reckless act.”

The Norwegian Star was delayed amid the search and rescue operation but arrived in Venice on Sunday.

Lovro Orešković, captain of the Cavtat, said: “We have saved a human life, and nothing else compares to it. Throughout the dramatic rescue action we have demonstrated to be well-trained and skilled. I am proud of the entire crew, and particularly of Ensign Marin Delić, a rescue swimmer who took the woman, exhausted from the long hours spent in the sea, to the deck.”

Longstaff told the Croatian news channel HRT that she fell off the back of the cruise ship and was “very lucky to be alive”.

It is understood the Foreign Office has been in contact with both the cruise line and Croatian port authorities since the rescue.