'It Was Mayhem': Aussie Speaks Out About Venice Cruise Crash

A Queenslander who filmed the moment a 65,000 tonne cruise ship slammed into a Venice wharf said he thought people had been killed.

The enormous cruise ship lost control and rammed into a parked tourist boat, throwing passengers to the ground and injuring four on Sunday.

Dramatic footage of the event appears to show passengers thrown overboard from the smaller boat as the huge Msc Opera cruise liner collides with it.

Queenslander Robert Lauretti filmed the incident from his cabin balcony, and told 10 News First he thought people had been killed.

In this photo released by the Italian Firefighters, the MSC Opera cruise liner, a towering cruise ship, strikes a tourist river boat, left, Sunday, June 2, 2019, in Venice, Italy, injuring at least five people. Photo: AP.

"The very last lady that went to run down -- I saw her flip -- and saw her two legs going down," he said.

The four passengers injured in the incident were between 67 and 72-years-old.

"There were people running everywhere -- left, right, trying to jump across on to the pier off the boat," Lauretti said.

READ MORE: Witnesses Flee As Cruise Ship Rams Dock And Tourist Boat

Authorities said the ship's engine failed but the thrusts were stuck on, causing the vessel to lurch forward and snap one of the chains connecting it to a tugboat.

Robert Lauretti. Source: Ten News First.

Cruise ships are already a controversial presence in Venice, where they have been blamed for causing damage to the fragile city and drawing business away from local hotels.

One local told 10 News First many locals have demanded cruise ships be banned from returning to the city and the incident has reignited the call.