Local News

Smiles, Hugs Mark Safe End to Local Students' Shipwreck Cruise

Posted April 7, 2007
Updated April 8, 2007

— About 30 people with Triangle-area ties who escaped a sinking cruise ship in Greece arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport Saturday afternoon.

The homecoming was an emotional one for the group of parents, students and teachers from Southeast Raleigh High School and Chapel Hill High School who were reunited with family members.

A third group of students from Middle Creek High School were expected to return late Saturday.

"I ve never felt so emotional before, especially in front of a bunch of people," said Southeast Raleigh High student Vallyn Murphy. "But I just feel so lucky to be out, to be here for Easter, to have my parents here—and they're crying—it's just a beautiful feeling."

"We were all applauding the whole flight, practically," one passenger said. "We were just so happy to be coming home. It felt pretty good."

The group's spring break trip was cut short Thursday when the 469-foot Sea Diamond struck a well-marked and charted reef, in fair weather, inside the Greek island of Santorin's sea-filled volcanic crater.

"We hit a rock," Murphy said. "I was on the 10th floor, taking pictures, and I saw this cloud of oil, I guess it was, go into the water."

Nearly 1,600 people were rescued from the ship Thursday in a three-hour rescue operation after the vessel foundered on a volcanic reef.

Divers continued to search for a Frenchman and his daughter who disappeared after their cabin flooded with water when the ship struck rocks.

The captain of the ship, as well as other crew members, were arrested and now faces a number of charges, including negligence for causing a ship wreck., breaching international shipping safety regulations and polluting the environment.

If those charges are upheld in court, the captain could face a five-year prison sentence.


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  • Elibeth Apr 8, 2007

    I am thankful they are all home safe. I do pray for the family of the two missing.

  • Dick Apr 8, 2007

    Hmmm..."when our theyb are coming home"...brilliant

  • ladyblue Apr 7, 2007

    Thank heavens this did not turn into a severe tragedy. I am worried for the two missing and they will be in my prayers. I am so glad they are home safe and their loved ones can have a happy holiday.

  • Scarecrow Cow Apr 7, 2007

    If you're going to nitpick, angora, don't use sentence fragments. =) Lol.

  • retChief Apr 7, 2007

    I know all the families will have a great Easter.

  • angora Apr 7, 2007

    To does not equal too does not equal two.

  • angora Apr 7, 2007

    Dictionary? Grammar book? Even spell check?????

  • nc lover Apr 7, 2007

    Me to. Now what about our troups in Iraq? when our theyb are coming home?

  • New York Yankee Apr 7, 2007


  • Al Capone Apr 7, 2007

    Glad they made it home safe.