‘I was stuck in my RV for entire Bass Strait crossing’

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Grey nomad claims he was stuck in his RV on Spirit of Tasmania
A grey nomad claims he was left in his RV overnight. PIC: Spirit of Tasmania

A 68-year old grey nomad claims he was left below deck in his recreational vehicle for an entire overnight journey on the Spirit of Tasmania from Devonport to Melbourne

Disability pensioner, Gary Hurst, says he drove onto the Spirit of Tasmania on Friday afternoon unaware of the ordeal that awaited him.

A former police officer, Mr Hurst was working at Port Arthur on April 28, 1996, when the mass shooting took place leaving 35 dead. He post-traumatic stress disorder and now walks with a cane.

As he boarded, a pink sticker was placed on his windshield to alert staff below deck that he required assistance. Mr Hurst told the Advocate newspaper that he parked his RV on the same level as the large trucks and alongside the dog enclosure, and was told by a staff member to wait until someone came to his assistance.

“A woman came and said I was not to get out, so I said ‘okay’,” Mr Hurst said.”She said it is uneven out here, and dangerous, and somebody is coming.”

But, he said, nobody came.

Mr Hurst told the Advocate that he stayed in his RV, alongside the dogs and the semi-trailers, on a deck of the ship which was “lit up like a casino” for the entire night’s sailing.

He urinated in a plastic jug, and only slept a few hours as he was constantly expecting a passing patrol or security guard to realise he had been left behind.

Mr Hurst said he had refrained from taking his PTSD medication that night because it was a heavy sedative, and he did not want to sleep through an opportunity to be taken upstairs.

The Advocate reports that he also decided against attempting to find his own way to the passenger decks, because if something happened he feared he would be blamed for not following staff direction.

“At about 6.30am bloke came through, one of the workers, and I blew the horn, and his mouth nearly hits the ground,” Mr Hurst said. “He said ‘what are you doing in the vehicle?’ I said ‘I was told to stay in the vehicle until somebody came’, he said ‘have you been there all night?’ and I said ‘yes’.”

A spokesman for TT Line, which owns the Spirit of Tasmania, said a full investigation into the matter is underway.

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4 Responses to ‘I was stuck in my RV for entire Bass Strait crossing’

  1. When much younger than Mr Hurst I was given permission to re-enter the vehicle area on a trip years ago as needed medication and other items and it was not a pleasant place to be. When walking between vehicles l was banging from one vehicle to next so it would have been very unsafe for Mr Hurst to have attempted to get out. I hope he got a refund on his trip.
    Its a poor reflection on Spirit staff and safety, or lack.of, protocols

  2. I thnk he deserves getting his money back that he would have paid for his overnight accommodation.

    He is a pensioner and he wasn’t helped when he should have.

  3. I think he deserves compensation

  4. Going to need a bloody big broom for this one boys..

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