Grandmother’s fatal mistake on cruise ship


Heather McKenzie, 68, was on holiday with her husband when he woke around 2am on February 15 last year to find her unconscious on the floor of their cabin.

He called the doctor and nurse aboard the ship Silver Whisper, which was docked at Burnie, but Mrs McKenzie couldn’t be revived.

“It is evident that the couple had consumed a considerable amount of alcohol prior to retiring for the evening,” Coroner Simon Cooper said in his findings published on Wednesday.

Cruise ship passenger ocean liner Silver Whisper. Picture: SuppliedSource:News Limited

Mr Cooper noted Mrs McKenzie was a “regular and heavy” consumer of alcohol.

Two wine glasses smelling strongly of whiskey and a clip-seal bag with a number of tablets were found in the pair’s cabin.

Post-mortem tests showed Mrs McKenzie had a blood-alcohol level of 0.337 per cent when she died.

She also had a greater-than-therapeutic amount of amlodipine in her system, a drug prescribed in 2016 to treat high blood pressure.

“The cause of Mrs McKenzie’s death was mixed alcohol and drug toxicity,” the coroner wrote.

He noted studies showed the combination of amlodipine and alcohol could cause tachycardia, hypotension or postural hypotension.

Police were unable to record an affidavit from Mr McKenzie because of his level of intoxication and distress, the coroner wrote.

The couple boarded the cruise ship on February 4, and were intending to spend six days in Australia.



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