Minneapolis couple survives cruise ship disaster

10:36 AM, Apr 9, 2007   |    comments
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"We’re really happy to be back in Minneapolis, safe and sound, and alive," Jon Hof said Easter Sunday. Jon and his wife Carol were on the Sea Diamond cruise ship navigating the Mediterranean Thursday, about to embark on a day in the port city of Santorini, when the ship hit a volcanic reef. "All of the sudden we just hear this awful noise, all of the sudden things start to break, you could hear glassware shattering,” Carol recalled. "I couldn’t believe this was happening. This was a huge mistake, a major human error was made coming into port." Two people on board are still missing. The Hofs say at least a dozen people from the Twin Cities were on board, and all have been accounted for. "I knew things were bad when we heard the abandon ship," Jon remembered. The couple calmly talked about the scary scene from their South Minneapolis kitchen three days later. They remember seeing crew members running, passengers scrambling for life vests. Women and children were the first to get off the Sea Diamond, as it continued to tilt, continued to take on water. "I did end up being one of the first ones off," Carol said. Jon had to stay behind. It would be two and a half hours before he'd get on a ferry to shuttle him to safety. "I was worried the ship was going to turn over and they were going to be on it," Carol remembers. Jon thought the same thing. "I was wondering if I was going to have to swim to shore, put it like that," Jon says. The next morning, the Sea Diamond disappeared, the Hofs luggage sunk with the ship. The couple was given 200 Euros. The pair has travel insurance, but at this point it is unclear how much money they'll get back. "I never dreamed the ship would sink, I didn’t think that was possible," Carol said.

By Scott Seroka, KARE 11 News

(Copyright 2007 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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