Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Local News

February 21, 2013

Life is a Carnival

Passengers with Athens ties make the best of ordeal

Athens — If you can imagine a city with a population larger than Chandler floating in the ocean with no water, sewer or electricity, you have an idea of what the passengers on the Carnival Cruise-ship Triumph endured earlier this month.

Former Athens resident Kasey Hoke survived the ordeal aboard the Triumph. Meanwhile, Kyle Smith of the Morton Small Animal Clinic waited anxiously for word from mother and stepfather Lisa and Gary Cook, who were also among the 4,200 passengers.

“I’ve been trying to get my husband to go on a cruise for years, and he has never wanted to,” Hoke said. “He said go check it out, and if it’s great, I’ll go on one with you. That’s never going to happen now.”

Hoke gave a synopsis of the cause of the predicament.

“The excursion left Galveston on Thursday, Feb. 7, and spent Saturday in Cozumel. The first inkling that problems had happened was when we heard on the loud speaker there had been a fire in the engine room,” Hoke said, “I was frightened. My roommate and I sat up in bed and looked at each other not sure what to do.”

After a few minutes, the passengers were told to remain in their rooms. Hoke was able to sleep a couple of hours, then woke up without water or electricity, and with a sensation that the boat was leaning a little to one side.

“That’s when we knew something was terribly wrong,” Hoke said.

At first boat officials told the passengers the engine room was too hot to assess the damage.  Later, at about 5 p.m. on Sunday, they said the damage to the engine was too extensive to repair.

“At first, they told us they’d get us home by Tuesday,” Hoke said. “Then it went to Wednesday and to Thursday.  On Thursday, there was some fear we weren’t going to get to go into the channel because of a curfew.”

Hoke said even though she was without electrical-powered conveniences, she was thankful to get a little ocean breeze in her cabin.

“We were on the 10th floor,” Hoke said. “We were fortunate to have a balcony, and were able to get air through. The people who were really unfortunate were the ones in the interior cabins.”

Everyone tried to keep really positive the first couple of days, but by Thursday, people weren’t quite as patient. One of the worst parts of the ordeal was waiting three hours for food, said Hoke.

“I was offered the onion sandwich, but I didn’t take it. I don’t think I had anything that night,” Hoke said.

Smith first learned of the Triumph’s problems when he received an automated call Sunday morning.

“They said there had been a fire in the engine room, but everyone was OK,” Smith said.

Smith tried to make contact with his parents, but was unable to connect.

“They lost power on the ship, and didn’t have a way of getting their cell phones to work,” Smith said. “I couldn’t get a hold of them until Tuesday. My mom was able to get through on somebody else’s cell phone.”

That was the only time he was able to talk to her until the Triumph reached Mobile, Ala., on Thursday, Feb. 14.

Smith said the Cooks had been concerned for their safety when they first learned of the engine room fire.

“It was about an hour until they learned they were OK, just stuck in the middle of the ocean,” Smith said. “They were about 150 miles from the coast at that time.”

The Cooks also had a balcony room, and opened the door to allow ventilation to go through toward the interior of the ship.

“They made some new friends, and said people were helpful,” Smith said. “There was a lot of unique humor, but they don’t know what to laugh about.”

One example, Smith said, came at a time when one half of the boat could flush its toilets, but the other still had no water service.

 “My stepdad said apparently one half of the boat was across the International Flush Line, and the other side wasn’t.” Smith said.

Text Only
Local News
  • DSC_0018.JPG Volunteers now needed for Athens Soup Kitchen

    Athens resident Terry Mayhall walked through the doors of the Athens Soup Kitchen asking if he could just volunteer. Mayhall now spends his Thursdays cooking soup for people who are hungry.
    Athens Soup Kitchen, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The mission is to feed those who are hungry. The facility that feeds 30 to 63 people weekly, opened its door in March 2014.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-26 Mike chamber.png Coston named chamber president

    After a diligent search, the Athens Chamber of Commerce Board has named Mike Coston president. 
    “The chamber board selected a search committee, which consisted of Chamber members, community leaders and business owners,” Ashley Adams McKee, Chairman of the Athens Chamber of Commerce Board, said. “Our committee knew that we wanted to take our time to find the most qualified person to serve as our new president. We had more than 10 applicants and in our first round of interviews we were all equally impressed and excited about Mike's experience and passion for chamber business.”

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Update on restaurant projects given

    City of Athens officials gave an update on some ongoing projects and financial information at a meeting on Wednesday.
    Director of Planning and Development Gary Crecilius said progress on the Cotton Patch Cafe has slowed considerably with the discovery of a possible environmental hazard. The restaurant is being constructed east of the Walmart store on East Tyler Street.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_3092.JPG HCPAC announces ‘Mattress’ sales

    Why would HCPAC be selling mattresses? Actually, the “mattresses” are tickets to “Once Upon a Mattress,” which opens Thursday, Aug. 7.
    The 26th Annual Youth Summer Musical stars 24 very talented area students, ages 10 through college, and tells the “fractured fairy tale” version of the “Princess and the Pea.”

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-26 CCL Rotary Celebrity waiter.jpg Gearing up for Celebrity Waiter event

    The Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake is gearing up for its annual Celebrity Waiter event. The Celebrity Waiter committee met on Thursday to discuss last minute items. The event is scheduled for Saturday, August 9 at Athens Country Club. This will be the 18th year the CCL Rotary Club has hosted the fundraiser. For ticket information call Erin Osborn at 903-887-7486.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul harris.jpg Paul Harris recognition

    Rotary of Cedar Creek Lake President Erin Osborn presents Rotarian Bill Burnett with his second Paul Harris recognition. Rotarians are given a Paul Harris recognition when a Rotarian donates $1,000 or more to the fund outright. Benefactors receive a certificate and insignia to wear with a Rotary or Paul Harris Fellow pin.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-25 Sanders_Kendall.jpg Sanders suspended indefinitely

    Two University of Texas football players were arrested and charged Thursday with felony sexual assault after a female student said she was raped in a campus dorm room last month.
    Wide receivers Kendall Sanders, of Athens, and Montrel Meander were arrested and later released on personal recognizance bonds. According to an arrest affidavit, Sanders and Meander texted each other during earlier interviews with police to "get their story straight" and Sanders also faces a charge of improper photography tied to the alleged assault on June 21.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-25 tree down college st. 1.JPG Thunderstorms take their toll on counties

    A line of thunderstorms rolled through Henderson County on Wednesday, snapping tree branches and power lines along the way.
    The winds that accompanied the storm resulted in thousands of people in North Texas without electricity and roads broken by falling trees or debris.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Council considering Burton's severance package

    The Athens City Council, by a 3-to-2 vote, tabled a budget adjustment on Wednesday to fund a severance package for City Administrator Pam Burton who’s stepping down at the end of the year.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Eustace ISD approves tax rates

    The Eustace Independent School District Board of Trustees held its regular monthly meeting Tuesday in the Eustace High School Library.
    Several reports and agenda items were considered by the board, and all were passed or approved. Board Secretary Ashley McKee was absent.
    The board was presented with the superintendent's reports on revenue, expenditures, payroll and taxes.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo