A former TV talent show star has revealed how she is fearful to return to the stage after plunging through the floor of a luxury cruise ship.
Brenda Cochrane, 59, said the “terrifying” incident has left her with nightmares and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The singer, from Uddingston in South Lanarkshire, suffered a back injury, whiplash injuries to her neck, and deep tissue trauma to her right leg.
Ms Cochrane, who won the final of Opportunity Knocks in 1989 with her rendition of Frank Sinatra’s smash hit New York, New York, said: “I’m quite a level-headed person but it was honestly terrifying.
“Imagine those clips on the internet you see when someone unknowingly falls through the cellar hatch in a pub floor – well it was like that.
“Everyone around me couldn’t believe it.
“I was told I cheated death because I fell on the drum kit, but if I landed a few inches to the right then I could have fallen a further 35 feet.”
Ms Cochrane’s Opportunity Knocks win was secured after netting the biggest margin of votes ever cast in the show’s 26-year history.
Her first album, The Voice, then went gold in the autumn of 1990, and for the last 30 years she has performed around the globe.
However, everything changed while working on the Princess Regal cruise ship in August 2017.
While the vessel was docked in Copenhagen, Denmark, Ms Cochrane was rehearsing with musicians on stage ahead of an evening show.
She was standing near to a drum kit, which was set up on a special platform that would rise up from beneath the stage. As she was singing, it suddenly descended and Ms Cochrane fell nearly five feet into the void.
Ms Cochrane was hauled to safety by quick-thinking stagehands, however she was forced to pull out of the week-long show due to her injuries and has been unable to go near a stage again.
She said: “It took a long time to recover physically from the injuries, but I’m still haunted by nightmares and suffering from PTSD and all the anguish and trauma that brings.
“My voice remains okay but it’s the fear of actually walking on a stage that I now struggle with.
“The injuries were bad but not being able to perform was worse.
“I’ve worked on stages for most of my life but something like this has never happened.
“I now have this fear of performing again because my imagination just goes into overdrive and I start panicking about everything that could go wrong.
“Other people who’ve experienced a fright like this will know what it’s like. It’s like if you were bitten by a dog – the last thing you’d want is to go near another dog.
“I know I’m over the worst of it now and I’ve been speaking to professionals so hopefully I’ll be able to get passed it soon enough.”
Digby Brown Solicitors investigated Princess Cruises over Ms Cochrane’s accident and found the floor likely opened up because someone off-stage unknowingly pressed the controls for the drum kit platform.
They also found that despite inviting Ms Cochrane aboard the ship as a guest entertainer, there were inadequate risk assessments in place to ensure her safety.
Princess Cruises has since paid an undisclosed sum in damages to compensate the singer for her injuries.
Mark Gibson, head of the foreign and travel team at Digby Brown, said: “This was a traumatic experience for our client and she could very easily have been more seriously injured.
“We are pleased to have been able to support Brenda and we wish her all the best with her recovery.”
Princess Cruises has been contacted for comment.