Princess Cruises is sending its thoughts and prayers to the family of one of its crew members who was killed while technical work was being carried out on Emerald Princess.

The 3,000-passenger ship was alongside Port Chalmers in Dunedin, New Zealand on the eighth day of a 12-night round trip from Sydney when the fatal incident occurred.

In an official statement, a Princess Cruises spokesperson confirmed the employee’s death, saying it happened during “technical work on the hydraulic launching system on a tender vessel”.

“We are deeply saddened that a member of Emerald Princess’ crew was fatally injured and our thoughts and prayer go out to his family.”

Princess Cruises Spokesperson

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Reports claim that the man was struck by a gas cylinder, which exploded while it was being used to re-inflate lifeboats on one of the decks.

Australian passenger, Krystal Friggieri, told The New Zealand Herald that she saw the gas bottle spinning on the wharf after hearing a “pretty loud” explosion.

She continued, saying that the ship’s captain then informed passengers via the intercom that the crew member had died.

“He’s been keeping us informed. Everyone’s a bit upset.”

Krystal Friggieri, Emerald Princess Passenger

In the meantime, Princess Cruises says it’s working with New Zealand authorities, who have boarded the vessel and are carrying out interviews with people involved in the incident.

The cruise line said it will remain alongside Port Chalmers until it’s cleared to return to Australia.

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