Passengers stand on the upper deck of the disabled Carnival Lines cruise… (Gerald Herbert / Associated…)
MOBILE, Ala. -- The crippled Carnival cruise ship Triumph finally limped into port Thursday night, but the passengers’ ordeal wasn’t over yet: It could take up to five hours for everyone to disembark, and only one elevator was working.
Less than an hour after a news briefing in which a Carnival spokesman said the ship was five miles away and would arrive between 9:30 and 10:30 p.m. Central, the Triumph was visible from shore a bit early.
Passengers cheered, crowding the rails on at least three decks as the ship pulled into port. The ship's horn sounded several times. Cameras flashed on board and people waved to those on the ground and across from them in the cruise terminal as the ship pulled alongside the gangway.
By 9:20 p.m., Triumph had docked. Buses were standing by to take passengers to hotels in Galveston, Houston or New Orleans. Families, too, were standing by.
As the ship docked, passengers sang, "Sweet Home, Alabama," and someone on board shouted, "It's good to be home!"
Joe Burgess of Carthage, Miss., was on his cellphone waving at the boat and looking for his wife and 18-year-old daughter, who told him they were dangling a bed sheet. With all the chaos, they had trouble seeing each other.
"Wave or something!" he told them.
An engine fire on Sunday left the 14-story-high ship without power. Many toilets weren’t working, passengers told relatives and reporters by cellphone, and food was scarce. Although the ship was restocked with food during the days it was under tow, the misery of the more than 4,000 people aboard persisted.
Earlier in the day, some towing equipment broke and, later, a tow line snapped. But by 8:30 p.m. Central, Triumph was within five miles of port, Carnival spokesman Terry Thornton told a news briefing.
A passenger was removed from the ship Monday for treatment in Mobile after suffering an unspecified medical problem, Thornton, Carnival vice president of planning, told a midafternoon briefing.
Thornton said he did not know whether the passenger was an adult or child, what condition the individual suffered or whether the person was hospitalized. Another passenger, a woman, had to be removed from the ship Monday for dialysis, Thornton has said.
A Carnival spokesman told the Los Angeles Times there had been no deaths or serious injuries aboard the Triumph since it left Galveston, Texas, last Thursday on what was supposed to be a four-day cruise to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. The ship lost power off the Yucatan coast Sunday after an engine fire.
The Triumph carried 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members.
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