Aug 1, 2008 Camera Captures Passengers Being Tossed Around Like 'Rag Dolls,' Furniture Flying As Powerful Storm Hits
AUCKLAND, New Zealand It was a vacation to remember, but for all the wrong reasons. A powerful storm created chaos on a cruise ship, and it was caught on tape. The passengers in New Zealand say they were tossed around like rag dolls. When it was all over, dozens were banged up, bruised and some suffered broken bones.
The terrifying scene was captured on amateur video. Chairs, plates and people went flying when rough seas battered the cruise ship. The storm that hit New Zealand packed powerful winds and 23-foot waves.
The conditions aboard the vessel were so perilous one passenger even sent a "goodbye" text message to family members because she thought she was going to die.
Horror and trepidation were felt among the passengers.
"We were separated when the wave hit and so it was horrible not knowing where everyone was," said passenger Natalie O'Donnell.
The storm darkened the skies over the ship, called the 'Pacific Sun,' on Wednesday night. One woman says she was just about to enjoy a cocktail at the ship's bar.
"We moved to a safer place to be on the carpet to get some traction and then suddenly it happened and then we were just thrown across towards a place glass window," said passenger Elisabeth Basher.
Officials say the captain plotted a course which he hoped would avoid the bad weather. But the storm took a turn for the worse.
"I've got no reason to question the captain's decision. He would have made it with the full information that he had at the time," said Corporate Affairs Director of P&O Cruises Sandy Olsen.
More than 40 passengers were injured in the turbulence. When the ship finally pulled into port, all were just glad to be back on land. The incident left one woman re-thinking her plans to take a cruise.
"It's a dream come true for me and now it's feeling more like a nightmare," said Donna Bloedow.
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