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Dozens injured after cruise ship tilts

Jul 18, 2006 | AP
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The Crown Princess, a cruise ship making its fourth voyage, suddenly rolled heavily to its left Tuesday, injuring dozens of people, including two critically, officials said.

The ship had returned to port, where medical personnel were treating the injured. No deaths had been reported and all passengers and crew had been accounted for, authorities said.

The Crown Princess, which can hold 3,000 passengers, was 11 1/2 miles southeast of Port Canaveral en route to New York when it experienced problems with its steering equipment, causing it to roll abruptly to its port side, Coast Guard Petty Officer James Judge said.

Judge could not immediately say how severely the 113,000-ton ship listed. It first sailed last month.

Among the critically injured was a child, officials said. Another 10 people were seriously hurt and about 30 had lesser injuries, said Fire Rescue Capt. Jim Watson.

"There were people running for life jackets, and then afterward a lot of people hugging and crying, people looking for children," Carol O'Connell told NBC's Miami affiliate, WTVJ-TV, by phone.

"The captain came on and made an announcement that there was a problem with the steering mechanism and the captain sounded so terrified, which led to my feeling of more panic," she said.

O'Connell said she saw flooding, tables overturned and lots of broken glass.

The ship is owned by Princess Cruises, one of 12 brands operated by Miami-based Carnival Corp. The company said it was investigating the cause of the incident. The ship had just left Port Canaveral, on Florida's east coast, after a nine-day Western Caribbean cruise.

"We deeply regret this incident, and are doing everything we can to make our passengers as comfortable as possible under these difficult circumstances," company spokeswoman Julie Benson said.
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