Grieving sister of cruise passenger demands coronial inquest

THE sister of a Ruby Princess passenger who died from COVID-19 is demanding a coronial inquest into the tragic circumstances surrounding her and other passengers' deaths.

NSW Police have launched a criminal investigation into the Carnival Australia cruise ship, aiming to identify how passengers were allowed to disembark from it in Sydney on March 19.

The cruise ship's berthing in Sydney Harbour has been linked to 622 COVID-19 cases and at least 11 deaths across Australia.

Karla Rose Lake, 75, who was a passenger on-board the Ruby Princess, died from the novel coronavirus on Caboolture Hospital on March 29.

 

Karla Rose Lake, 75, was a passenger onboard the Ruby Princess. She died from COVID-19 in Caboolture Hospital at 2am on Sunday, March 29.
Karla Rose Lake, 75, was a passenger onboard the Ruby Princess. She died from COVID-19 in Caboolture Hospital at 2am on Sunday, March 29.

 

Her husband Graeme, who was also on-board the ship with her, was in a critical condition in the same hospital after being infected with the virus, but is now recovering from it.

Mrs Lake's sister Yvonne Cunningham, who lives near Innisfail, welcomed the NSW police investigation into the cruise ship.

"I would be calling for a coronial inquest, into all the (passenger) deaths," she said.

"An inquiry would only have a brief cursory look, but you need to go deeper and have a full inquest.

"The coroner cannot call witnesses to an inquiry, but with an inquest, the coroner has the power to call subpoena witnesses and information, that that's what is needed."

The police investigation will cover the actions of the Port Authority of NSW, ambulance, police, NSW Health, and Carnival Australia.

Ms Cunningham, who owns a nursery, said there were too many questions about the biosecurity failures when the cruise ship docked in Sydney.

 

The Ruby Princess docked at Port Kembla on Monday. Picture John Grainger
The Ruby Princess docked at Port Kembla on Monday. Picture John Grainger

"Passports were not checked and all biosecurity laws were overlooked," she said.

"You don't know what material the crew and passengers may have had on-board and then came ashore.

"They have no idea who came off that boat.

"That's why we have laws, to protect our borders, and these laws were broken.

"And that's a great concern to our horticultural industry and safety of Australians."

Shine Lawyers is looking at developing a class action, as a result of the Ruby Princess debacle.

Ms Cunningham said her brother-in-law was still too unwell to consider joining up to it, and his health was a priority.

"He is recovering slowly, but he's still in a lot of pain," she said.

Originally published as Grieving sister of cruise passenger demands coronial inquest



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