SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – A Utah family is desperate to get home after being stuck onboard a Carnival cruise ship in deplorable living conditions. What was supposed to be a relaxing week with their family in the Caribbean became an agonizing struggle, in some ways, to simply survive.
"We're hoping we're not going to be staying one more night on this ship," said Megan Hanks, stuck on Carnival cruise ship.
Megan Hanks from Hurricane is tired and fed up.
"It's just so frustrating. Day after day it gets harder and harder," said Hanks.
Hanks and her husband Ephraim are just two of more than 4,000 passengers stuck on board the crippled Carnival cruise ship “Triumph “ which Thursday night made a less than triumphant return through the Gulf Mexico.
Last week the ship left Galveston, Texas for a four day Caribbean tour, but Sunday the engine room caught fire.
"And right away I smelled smoke, and I said to my husband ‘I smell smoke,’ and then we opened our door and our hallway, we're all the way down on the first deck, and we saw smoke filling the hallway," Hanks said.
The ship lost power, and began drifting. When Hanks parents' babysitting her children back in Utah heard about it, they didn't believe it.
"My wife thought it was a joke, of course Ephraim he's sort of a joke player, and said 'Hey the ship caught fire and they're going to tow us home," said Randy Bailey, father.
"Until we could actually call them and they could hear my tears, then they knew that it wasn't a joke," said Hanks.
Passengers’ rooms flooded forcing everyone to sleep in hallways or on deck. Bathrooms weren't working, the ship began to tilt to one side, and no one could get any food.
"I didn't eat dinner last night just because the line was so long, and I didn't want to wait three hours and I probably won't eat dinner again tonight," Hanks said.
At one point Hanks and her husband seriously contemplated jumping off.
"It was just scary and we honestly just looked over the side of the ship and we said if we have to, we could jump and probably survive," Hanks said.
When Hanks finally does get off the ship, she hopes the nightmare will be over.
"It was scary, it was scary," she said.
Once they do get off the ship, they still have a long road home ahead of them. They tell Reporter Brian Carlson, Carnival is busing them to New Orleans Thursday night, and they then plan to fly home to St. George on Friday.
Carnival Cruise Lines told the Hanks that it plans to take care of each of the passengers who suffered through the ordeal. ABC 4 is told Carnival is refunding their money, paying for their transportation home, and giving each of them a credit voucher for another cruise.
Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @tv_briancarlson