Details emerge about the death of MSC Orchestra crew member Hombisa “Nana” Mafuduka

Apr 28, 2022

Details surrounding the death of a young South African crew member aboard the MSC cruise ship, have been revealed by the crew member’s aunt. The 29-year-old Hombisa “Nana” Mafuduka, was found dead on March 24 aboard MSC Orchestra with a broken neck and injury to the head, said her aunt Lulama “Lulu’’ Mafuduka in an interview for the South African news outlet ILO.

The tragic event reportedly took place in the crew area after the young woman sustained a severe injury as the cruise ship was sailing to Durban from Mozambique.

When the cruise ship arrived in Durban police started investigating the circumstances surrounding the woman’s death. SA National police said that according to information provided by the ship the woman was on duty when she was found dead.

MSC Cruises believes the death was of "an accidental nature"

Shortly after the tragedy MSC Cruises' spokesperson in South Africa, told the Daily News that the cruise line have been in communication with the crew member’s family and extend deepest condolences for their loss. 

“The death, which we believe to have been of an accidental nature, is being investigated by the local authorities and we will continue to provide every assistance,” MSC Cruises spokesperson said.

Severe head and neck injury

In an interview for ILO the crew member’s aunt, who had taken care of Nana, together with her three brothers since their mother died revealed details about a major head injury and that her neck was broken.

On March 24 at around 11 pm, Nana’s aunt received a call from MSC Cruises informing her that her niece had died and that she will be called by police on the following day to identify the body.

She was told that her niece had “vomited blood and was taken to the ship’s infirmary, resuscitated and on her way back collapsed and passed away, making us believe it was a natural death”. 

 “I waited on Friday and didn't receive any call. I pleaded with the HR manager to give me the police contact numbers. I asked to come to Durban since they had also said they were preparing to do an autopsy. I questioned why, and how was it being done without us, her family members?” 

Mysterious cousin identified crew member’s body

Nana’s aunt traveled to Durban the following day where she was told that a ‘mysterious cousin’ had identified the body of her niece. 

When she asked to see the body, police said that she didn’t have permission and refused her access, and was told to come back on Monday.

“After a huge argument, they allowed me to see her body. To my surprise and complete shock, I found the opposite of what was said. She had a major head injury and a broken neck. To this day as family, we are still left wondering as to what happened to Nana. MSC hasn’t given us answers,” she said.

“The events that led to this tragedy are under investigation by the police and we have co-operated with them throughout their investigation, and will continue to do so, in the hope that more light will be shone on the circumstances and cause of her untimely death.” MSC spokesperson said.

Hombisa “Nana” Mafuduka was laid to rest on 9 April, 2022.