Frisco couple quizzed in cruise ship probe




Posted on February 19, 2013 at 12:15 AM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 19 at 3:38 AM

FRISCO — Lloyd and Cheryl Bass were questioned inside a bar on the fourth deck of the Carnival Triumph in the final hours of a trip that lasted days longer than it should have.

"There was an investigator from the NTSB, one from the Coast Guard, and three Carnival executives," Lloyd said.  "The NTSB investigator primarily went through and asked the most questions."

"They were asking things like, 'Did you read the safety information on the back of your door?'" he recalled.  "He asked us what we did when we heard the fire alarm.  We looked at each other and said, 'What fire alarm?'"

"We didn't hear a fire alarm.  Some people from lower levels heard and alarm, but we didn't on our level," Lloyd added.

The Coast Guard interviewed passengers from 33 cabins along with 21 crew members. Additional crew members will likely be questioned soon. 

The Coast Guard and NTSB say they'll likely be done with their on-site investigation this week, but the entire probe into what happened will likely take six months.

The Coast Guard praised the Carnival Triumph crew for keeping the fire under control. Cheryl and Lloyd Bass said the Carnival employees on board were top-notch. 

"They were amazing; they worked their tails off," Cheryl said. "We had a bad situation, conditions were horrible, and they did everything in their power to make it as comfortable as possible.  We couldn't praise them more."

But their praise did not extend to Carnival's top brass.

"Carnival executives, in our opinion, are different than the crew that was on the boat," Cheryl said. "We want to make that distinction very clear."

She was particularly dismayed with what she said was a lack of provisions to care for disabled passengers. 

"There was no plan to see if they were OK," Cheryl said. "You cannot have these things happen on a ship and not have a contingency plan to deal with these kinds of situations.  That's just unconscionable, in my opinion."