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Austin-Area "Triumph" Passengers Back Home

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:12 PM CDT

Sixteen Austin-area passengers from the Carnival cruise ship "Triumph" are back home early Friday morning, just hours after the Triumph cruise ship docked in Alabama, after spending days stranded in the Gulf.

The first of the two private planes touched down just before 2 a.m. Friday, the second arriving roughly 20 minutes later. Dozens of anxious family members and friends of the group waited on the tarmac for more than an hour before the planes arrived.

As the doors to the planes opened, reactions of joy and relief, both from the passengers and their family. Lots of hugs, with everyone saying they’re just thankful to be back on the ground and back home. One passenger compared the conditions on the ship to "a refugee camp", with three-hour waits for food, days without cell phone service, no toilets, and a sewage smell throughout.

Still many of the passengers traveling with this group were on top near the balcony and say for many of their fellow passengers, the conditions were even worse.   

"People on the bottom floors where the fire was had to go up and stay on the top decks and they were using sheets to block the sun off of them and to keep the wind off of them," said Diane Erb, a local passenger. "Their mattresses and their bed and they were everywhere just stepping over people."

Several of the passengers were upset with the cruise line, telling us they think the ship should never have taken off in the first place. However, everyone praised the crew, as well as the other passengers, for bonding, working together, and making the best of the situation.

One passenger tells us the cruise ship is compensating them by crediting back the cruise they paid for, giving them a voucher for a future cruise, and are supposed to be mailing them a check for $500.

By Adam Bennett    Austin-Area "Triumph" Passengers Back Home

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