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Old May 25th, 2003, 10:09 PM
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Default Update on Norway Explosion

*
U.S. National - AP
Cruise Ship Explosion Kills at Least 4
MIAMI - An explosion and fire in the boiler room of a docked cruise ship killed at least four crew members Sunday and injured more than 15 others, authorities said. The blast did not cause any injuries among the more than 2,100 passengers.
*The explosion occurred on Norwegian Cruise Line's SS Norway, a historic ship that has been churning the oceans for the better part of four decades. It was once in keen competition with the famed Queen Elizabeth 2 on the trans-Atlantic run.
The blast appeared to be an accident.
Police said after the explosion that two crew members died at the scene, and authorities later reported two additional deaths, including one Sunday evening at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, a spokeswoman said.
Fifteen crew members were brought to the hospital, and five of them were in critical condition. Victims were taken to other hospitals, but Miami-Dade officials would not say which ones.
The Norway came into the Port of Miami at the end of a weeklong Caribbean cruise around 5 a.m., with 2,135 passengers and 911 crew members on board, port director Charles Towsley said. The fire began about two hours later, the result of an explosion likely caused by a steam leak, Miami-Dade Police Director Carlos Alvarez said.
The force of the explosion tossed four crew members through an open cargo bay door into water, Alvarez said. They were hauled back into the ship with a rope ladder.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue workers put out the fire in about an hour, Coast Guard Petty Officer Anastasia Burns said.
"So far, it looks like it was just an accident," Burns said.
Ken Hunt, 81, said he was in his cabin when he heard the explosion.
"I didn't pay any attention at first, I thought we just hit the dock. But then the lights went out," he said.
The evacuation went smoothly, though the passengers weren't told what was going on, Hunt said. Once off the ship, the passengers squeezed into a customs hall to wait.
The Norway was scheduled to sail again later Sunday, but that cruise was canceled so officials could examine the damage, Norwegian Cruise Line spokeswoman Susan Robison said. Passengers on that cruise will be given a refund and voucher for another trip.
Launched as the SS France in the early 1960s, it was the longest if not the largest passenger ship afloat. At 1,035 feet, it was four feet longer than the Queen Elizabeth, and 153 feet longer than the tragic Titanic. It's too long and too wide for the Panama Canal.
In 1974, thanks in large part to the oil crisis and the blossoming of the Jet Age, the oceanliner was deemed unprofitable, taken out of service, and mothballed in France. It was eventually bought by Norwegian in 1979 for $18 million its value in scrap metal and revamped at a cost of $120 million.
The Norway has 12 guest decks, eight lounges and bars, two swimming pools and a casino, among dozens of other amenities.
During Memorial Day weekend two years ago, Coast Guard inspectors discovered about 100 "soft patches" covering holes in fire sprinkler lines that authorities said could have failed under intense heat. The ship was held in port for a week to repair the problems.
*

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Old May 26th, 2003, 06:37 AM
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Default Re: Update on Norway Explosion

Lisa, thanks for the update. I saw this tragic story on the news last night. My heart goes out to those injured and the families of those killed. On the news clip, the interviewed a woman who was furious with the cruiseline bacause she drove all the way from Chicago and there wasn't going to be a cruise! Geeze! What are people thinking. I hardly think the cruiseline had any control over what had happened.

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Old May 26th, 2003, 08:29 AM
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Default Re: Update on Norway Explosion

You have to wonder about priorities and only thinking of self, I drove all this way, my vacation is ruined, etc., etc.!

My goodness what about the families that lost loved ones and all those injured. A terrible accident and tragedy, prayers for the families and those injured.

Susie
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Old May 26th, 2003, 08:34 AM
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Default Re: Update on Norway Explosion

Susie - I too was beginning to wonder when the whiners would start speaking up. I'm sorry their vacation was ruined, but people were killed and critically injured!

(edited to clarify who I was talking about.)



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Old May 26th, 2003, 09:05 AM
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Default Re: Update on Norway Explosion

Lisa...Susie was not the one complaining. She was referring to the woman that I saw on the news who was upset because her vacation was ruined.

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Old May 26th, 2003, 09:50 AM
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Default Re: Update on Norway Explosion

ML - I know that - I was referring to the person ou saw interviewed. I'm sorry, I should have made myself clearer.

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Old May 26th, 2003, 11:19 AM
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Default Re: Update on Norway Explosion

I'm sorry Lisa...I misunderstood.

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Old May 26th, 2003, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Update on Norway Explosion

The losses here are huge. Of course, the loss of life and injuries are just horrific and we all reach out to these people and their families.

There is also tremendous loss to the cruise ship business because there have been so many items of "bad news" in this industry in the last couple of years. There has been an economy downturn, too much inventory, Norwalk Virus, 911 type terrorism, S.A.R.S., environmental dumping on the part of cruise lines, etc., and now this.

Of course people are upset that their cruises are cancelled. Vacations are very personal and quite precious to most of us. Often people only have a week or two each year to call their own in terms of vacation. "Whining" is to be expected and yes this is another considerable loss in this tragedy.

I feel sorry for all involved.
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