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Couple recalls terrifying moment lightning struck Carnival cruise ship before it caught on fire

A couple recalled the terrifying moment they watched lightning strike their Carnival cruise ship, which caught fire over the weekend during a Caribbean excursion.
Florence Torchia watched the bolt hit the Carnival Freedom ship during a thunderstorm as the ship was 20 miles off the coast of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas on Saturday.
Moments later, the crew reported a fire in the ship’s exhaust funnel, the couple told Fox Weather.
“Oh my God, this doesn’t look good,” Joe recalled them saying as they saw the fire on the TV. “They had a [camera] set up.”
Crews quickly responded to the fire, but the couple said their hoses “didn’t reach the funnel.”
4 Florence Torchia watched the bolt hit the Carnival Freedom ship during a tumultuous thunderstorm 20 miles off the coast of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas on Saturday. Oh my God, this doesn’t look good,” Joe recalled them saying. FOX Weather
The Torchias tried to make their way down to the muster station after the captain made an announcement and they were met with “kids crying” while they looked for their parents.
“It was scary,” Joe said.
The exhaust stack would eventually fall onto the 10th deck, sending a plume of smoke “in our cabin and everything,” Florence said.
4 The Torchias tried to make their way down to the muster station after the captain made an announcement and they were met with “kids crying” while they looked for their parents. @breezebreeze_ via Storyful 4 The exhaust stack would eventually fall onto the 10th deck, sending a plume of smoke “in our cabin and everything,” Florence recalled. @breezebreeze_ via Storyful
Despite the emergency, the couple said the cruise line’s communication was “pretty good” and they “notified us of everything.”
However, the third-time cruisers said this trip “might be our last” after the ordeal.
“I’d rather go to the Caribbean to a single destination,” Florence said.
A Carnival spokesperson told Fox Weather that their onboard team did a “thorough assessment” after the ship was able to dock at Freeport a day later and are still investigating witness reports.
The boat was able to return to Port Canaveral in Florida on Monday.
4 This is the second time the Freedom cruise ship’s funnel has caught fire in two years, with the last time being in May 2022. AFP via Getty Images
The cruise line admitted to the outlet that the damage was “more than we first thought” and would need immediate repairs to stabilize the damaged funnel.
The March 25 and 29 cruises out of Port Canaveral were canceled. Customers on those trips received refunds.
This is the second time the Freedom cruise ship’s funnel has caught fire in two years, with the last time being in May 2022.

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