The 113,000-ton ship, “Crown Princess,” limped back to port in Cape Canaveral on July 19th after it suddenly listed 15 degrees to its port side. Passengers reported that after about 30 to 40 seconds the ship returned to an upright position. At the time of the incident the ship was 11 miles out of port, and was carrying 3,100 passengers and 1,200 crew. Seas were calm.
Passengers reported that tables, glasses, lounge chairs, gym equipment, TV sets, and other objects went flying, along with the passengers themselves. Those who were in the pool at the time were shoved out along with the water, and appeared to have suffered the most severe injuries. Immediately following the incident there were a lot of people hugging and crying, and others looking for children. One passenger reported that the captain sounded terrified, leading her to feel more panicked.
Around 14 ambulances, eight fire trucks, and three medical helicopters awaited the ships return to Cape Canaveral. 98 people were transported to local hospitals, including a critically injured adult and a little girl who were airlifted. Injuries included bloody noses, bruises, fractures, dislocated joints, shortness of breath, chest pains, and some more serious than that. About 240 passengers were treated onboard for minor injuries.
The 950-foot ship was leaving its last port of call on a 9-day Western Caribbean cruise, and returning to New York, when the accident occurred. The Crown Princess, owned by Princess Cruises and operated by Carnival Corp., was on its fourth voyage, after having been christened just last month.
A malfunction of the steering is believed to be the cause of the incident, but it is still under investigation.