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Cruise Ship Rolls Left, Dozens Hurt

A steering problem caused a new cruise ship to roll abruptly Tuesday, throwing passengers and crew to the deck and critically injuring an adult and a child, officials said.

Another 10 were seriously hurt and about 30 had lesser injuries, said Cape Canaveral Fire Rescue Capt. Jim Watson.

The ship returned to port and all passengers and crew were accounted for, the Coast Guard said.

The Crown Princess, which can accommodate 3,000 passengers, had just departed Port Canaveral on Florida's east coast en route to New York when it listed badly to its port side, said Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer James Judge. The ship then righted itself.

Tom Daus, 32, was sunbathing on the ship's upper deck at the time.

"It became very disastrous because ... tables, glasses, lounge chairs went flying," he said. "I was just holding on for dear life onto the bannister of the ship."

Daus, of New York City, said several of the upper decks were flooded and the elevators were inoperable.

"The water came gushing out of the pool like a mini-tsunami," he said. "It was really scary. People who were in the pool were shoved out."

Passenger Carol O'Connell told NBC's Miami affiliate, WTVJ-TV, by phone that people raced for life jackets.

"The captain sounded so terrified, which led to my feeling of more panic," she said.

Stan Payne, CEO of the Canaveral Port Authority, said the cruise line wanted passengers to wait until other lodging could be arranged, but were free to leave the vessel if they wanted. He said the ship would remain in port for several days.

Princess Cruises, one of 12 brands operated by Miami-based Carnival Corp., said it was investigating the cause of the incident.

Before leaving Port Canaveral, the ship has just completed a nine-day Western Caribbean cruise, she said. The 113,000-ton ship began sailing a month ago. Tuesday marked the start of its fourth voyage.

"We deeply regret this incident, and are doing everything we can to make our passengers as comfortable as possible under these difficult circumstances," company spokeswoman Julie Benson said.

Martha Stewart christened the Crown Princess last month before it embarked on its maiden voyage to the Caribbean from its home terminal in Brooklyn.

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