Joy and Colin Milmine were on a two month holiday, travelling around Europe and seeing the sights.
The spectacular trip included a cruise aboard Uniworld’s luxurious River Countess. And that’s when fate took a hand.
The couple were enjoying breakfast aboard the ship docked in Venice when they suddenly heard a horn blaring, that sent bystanders running for their lives.
This was the moment the 2,679-passenger MSC Opera collided with the 130-guest river vessel, pushing the River Countess away from the Giudecca Canal dock where passengers were disembarking.
“When I looked out the window to see what was happening, all I could see was people running down the dock, really running and looking behind them,” she told the New Zealand Herald.
“All of a sudden there was one almighty bang. Everything fell over. Table, chairs, food – everything.”
“But as we were collecting our thoughts there was another almighty bang, bigger than the first one.”
The New Zealand resident was thrown to the ground, falling on her right side while her husband was also thrown to the ground, hitting his head and injuring his leg.
The couple cut their trip short after she found out she suffered a broken shoulder from the accident, and now has several screws holding the joints together.
“Walking through the dining room was just chaos, there was stuff all over the place,” Mrs Milmine said.
The staff aboard the River Countess rushed to help the couple and Mrs Milmine’s shoulder was braced before they were offloaded onto an ambulance boat.
The severity of Mrs Milmine’s injuries set in while they were directed by the ship’s interpreter through the winding canals of Venice to the hospital, and the couple said they are eternally grateful for the help they received from the Uniworld staff.
“We would have been totally lost without her. It’s not just a matter of ringing up and hailing a taxi as you or I would do,” she said.
“Our injuries are minor to what could have happened. Looking back on it, it was quite surreal.”
Mrs Milmine underwent emergency surgery on her shoulder in Venice and returned home shortly after.
Unfortunately, the couple missed out on a much anticipated trip to Croatia, which they said they had been planning for months.
But for now, they will be staying put and focusing on Mrs Milmine’s recovery.
Investigations are still currently underway into what caused the accident.