Cruise Ship's Sudden Roll Injures 240 People

Port Canaveral, Fla. -- Some 240 passengers aboard the cruise ship, Crown Princess, were injured yesterday when the ship rolled precipitously to starboard, throwing people and objects violently to the deck.

The ship returned to port here, where 94 of the injured passengers were taken to local hospitals, according to a statement today by Princess Cruises, which operates the ship. Three passengers and two crew members remain hospitalized, the company said; the others were treated and released.

The majority of injured passengers, who suffered mainly abrasions and bruises, were treated aboard ship, the company said.

The sudden rolling of the 113,000-ton ship occurred at 3:25 p.m. local time about 12 miles out of port here as the ship headed to New York.

The Associated Press quoted one passenger, Alfred Caproni, of North Adams, Mass., as saying, "I fell to the deck. I had to crawl to get back in my room. It was the most scary thing. We thought we were gone."

The AP reported that the ship's crew contacted the Coast Guard regarding steering problems from faulty equipment, but Princess said today that it is still investigating the cause of the mishap.

About 1,600 passengers disembarked the ship by this morning local time, with another 1,850 passengers still on board and making travel arrangements, according to the company.

"We deeply regret this incident and are doing everything we can to make our passengers as comfortable as possible under these difficult circumstances," Princess said in a statement yesterday.

The newest ship in the Princess fleet, with a debut in June, Crown Princess was on a nine-day, Caribbean cruise. Port Canaveral was the last port of call before the scheduled return to the ship's home port of New York.

Passengers will receive a full refund, plus reimbursement for any additional expenses, Princess said, adding that it will evaluate the situation before announcing the next sailing of the Crown Princess.

Princess is one of 12 cruise lines owned and operated by Carnival Corp., of Miami.