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Couple recall ‘scary’ moment cruise caught fire after being struck by lightning

Couple recall ‘scary’ moment cruise caught fire after being struck by lightning

They described their cabin filling with smoke and crying kids searching for their parents

Picture the scene - you're kicking back and relaxing on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean, perhaps sipping a pina colada, when all of a sudden a bolt of lightning crashes into the boat and a fire breaks out.

That's what happened to this couple who experienced a terrifying moment during their Carnival cruise trip on a Caribbean excursion.

You can see footage of thick black smoke billowing out of the ship's funnel below:

Florence Torchia recalled watching a bolt of lightning hit the Carnival Freedom ship during a thunderstorm, causing it to catch fire.

At the time, the ship was 20 miles off the coast of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas when it all went wrong on Saturday (23 March).

The couple explained to Fox Weather that moments after the bolt hit, crew reported a fire in the ship’s exhaust funnel.

Joe Torchia said the pair were watching the fire on the TV, and that ‘they had a [camera] set up’.

Florence and Joe.
Fox Weather

When witnessing the blaze, he recalled saying, ‘oh my God, this doesn’t look good’.

Even though crews quickly responded to the fire, the couple said their hoses ‘didn’t reach the funnel’.

In a frenzy, the Torchias were trying to follow the captain's order to walk to the muster station, but were faced with ‘kids crying’ who were attempting to find their parents.

“It was scary,” Joe said.

But the nightmare had only just begun.

It was moments later that the exhaust stack would fall onto the 10th deck, sending a cloud of smoke ‘in our cabin and everything’.

The ship's funnel caught fire.

However, despite the severity of the situation, the pair praised the cruise line’s communication as they ‘notified us of everything’, but it put a strain on the Torchias' cruise endeavours.

“I’d rather go to the Caribbean to a single destination,” Florence, a third-time cruise enthusiast, said.

Joe said it was the couple's third cruise, 'but it might be our last'.

Speaking to Fox Weather, a Carnival spokesperson said last week: "While we continue to investigate multiple eyewitness reports of a lightning strike, our technical team completed a thorough assessment during the ship’s visit to Freeport on Sunday."

The company admitted that the damage caused by the fire would need to be repaired immediately in order to stabilise the funnel and that it was ‘more than we first thought’.

The damage caused many excited holidaymakers to lose out on their trip after the 25 and 29 March cruises out of Port Canaveral were cancelled, though they were thankfully refunded.

The cruise line added: "We greatly appreciate our terrific guests for their outstanding cooperation and support."

LADbible has contacted Carnival cruises for a comment.

Featured Image Credit: Fox/X/@breezebreeze_

Topics: Cruise Ship, Travel