Santorini is a great cruise destination, known for its steep hill which lets hikers share a narrow road with sometimes unruly donkeys. The excitement reached a whole new level for passengers of the Sea Diamond cruise ship, though:
A Greek cruise ship that struck a volcanic reef and forced the evacuation of hundreds of tourists sank on Friday, 15 hours after it began taking on water off the coast of a Mediterranean island. A Frenchman and his daughter were missing, officials said. (MSNBC)
Passengers had to climb down rope ladders to exit the vessel, and were aided by Greek coast guard and military vessels, as well as fishing boats that make the scenic port their home. The rescue took three hours, and two passengers remain unaccounted for. The outlook for the missing passengers doesn’t sound optimistic:
Tourism Minister Fanny Palli Petralia said she had spoken with the missing passenger’s wife.
“The lady said her cabin filled with water when the ship struck rocks and that she narrowly escaped,” Petralia said. “She was not sure whether her husband and daughter made it out because things happened so suddenly … in a few seconds. Her other child was up on deck and was evacuated safely.”
“Cabin filled with water” is not a phrase you want to use when describing your cruise vacation, and the sinking of a sizable cruise ship is bound to put off some nervous cruisers. It will be interesting to see what the official investigation determines as the cause of the navigation error which caused the ship to hit the reef.