Thu, Jul 20, 2006 - Page 6 News List

Dozens hurt as ship rolls off Florida

AGENCIES , PORT CANAVERAL, FLORIDA

Injured passengers from the cruise ship ``Crown Princess'' head for a waiting bus for the trip to the hospital on Tuesday.

PHOTO: AP

A new luxury cruise ship that made its debut sailing last month listed heavily after leaving Port Canaveral in Florida on Tuesday, injuring dozens of passengers, two of them critically, when people were flung across decks and down stairways.

The US Coast Guard said it was not yet clear how far the 290m Crown Princess had listed. But some passengers aboard the vessel, which was carrying 3,100 guests and 1,200 crew, said it rolled dramatically.

One woman was hit by a marble table. Others suffered broken arms and bones, the witnesses said.

"The ship actually tilted all the way down, all the way down, water came out of the pool ... people were all flying and hitting the glass," passenger Al Selmani told Miami's WSVN TV.

"The ship was actually going to flip over all the way ... everybody was panicking, everybody was crying, chairs were falling everywhere. I mean, it looked like the ship was going down," he said.

Tom Daus, 32, was sunbathing on the ship's upper deck when the ship began to list.

"It became very disastrous because ... tables, glasses, lounge chairs went flying," he said in a cellphone interview. "The water came gushing out of the pool like a mini-tsunami," he said. "It was really scary."

Princess Cruises said on its Web site the ship was "safe and seaworthy" after an unexpected list to its starboard, or right, side.

Two people in critical condition, one of them a child, were flown by helicopter to hospital in Orlando, said Captain Jim Watson of the Cape Canaveral Fire Department.

Fifteen people considered to be in serious condition were taken by ambulance to hospitals, 18 "walking wounded" were taken away in buses and another 30 people remained on board in need of attention, Watson said.

The Crown Princess cruise was escorted by Coast Guard vessels and tug boats back to a wharf lined with ambulances.

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