| Date Published: February 14, 2013 |
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|Children and Special Needs Passengers Will Be First Off Carnival Triumph|
Update, 12:15 a.m. EST: Carnival Triumph has arrived in Mobile, and passengers are disembarking, a process which will take hours.
Update, 8:42 p.m. EST: According to a report on CNN, most passengers have been cleared by customs.
Update, 5:42 p.m. EST: The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed it medevaced a woman from Carnival Triumph today after she reportedly suffered a stroke. The woman was transported to Dauphin Island.
(4:55 p.m. EST) -- Children and people with special needs will be the first to disembark from Carnival Triumph when it arrives in Mobile later today, sometime between 10 p.m. and midnight EST, Carnival senior vice president of marketing planning Terry Thornton told a group of reporters. Thornton also said cruise passengers will not be required to sign any type of waiver to take advantage of the compensation offered by Carnival.
With only one working elevator, the process to disembark all 3,100-some passengers will take four to five hours. Passengers will be required to carry their luggage. To ease the difficulty this might cause, crew members will be positioned on all staircases and will hand bags down the stairs from person to person.
Thornton also said one additional passenger was medically debarked from Triumph today, though he offered no additional details on the person's condition, other than to say the patient was stable. A passenger was evacuated from the ship Monday morning because she needed dialysis.
Carnival Triumph has slowly been making its way toward Mobile. It has received numerous supply transfers, and at least 10 Customs and Border Patrol officers boarded the ship today to speed up the clearance process. All customs and immigration processes should be completed by the time the ship docks.
While families of passengers wait for the ship to come in, Carnival is supplying day and night rooms at area hotels for them, and food is being served in the cruise terminal. Additionally, each family is assigned to a guest care team member.
In the meantime, a CNN helicopter continues to circle Carnival Triumph and relay live video of the ship. Passengers can be seen wearing bathrobes, and numerous "deck beds" made of lounge chairs are pushed together and covered with sheets on the decks sheltered by lifeboats.
An additional generator flown in by the U.S. Coast Guard early this morning is up and running and enabling crew to provide additional hot food service.
Upon its arrival into Mobile, Triumph passengers will be bused to New Orleans, a two-hour drive, where 1,500 hotel rooms are reserved. Passengers who choose to spend the night there will be flown to Houston on private charters Friday.
Triumph crew members also will be disembarked from the ship in Mobile and put up in hotels there. They will then be reassigned to other vessels.
--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor
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