WELL-known Inverness solicitor John MacBean and his wife were among the survivors of a disaster involving the Greek Line cruising ship, Lakonia, in which 128 people lost their lives.
The couple were among 646 passengers and 376 crew on an 11-day Christmas cruise when the ship caught fire and sank north of Madeira on December 22.
Evacuation was hampered by the alarms sounding too softly to be heard by most people on board and overcrowding of lifeboats plus the loss of several boats to fire.
Some passengers were able to reach the water via the gangways and rope ladders. Two ships alerted by distress signals managed to save most of the others.
A board of inquiry traced the fire to faulty electrical wiring, but strongly criticised the maintenance of equipment, thoroughness of boat drills, and the standard of supervision. Eight of the ship's officers were charged with negligence.