Family and friends were anxiously waiting with welcome signs. Survivors of a cruise ship fire are returning home to Tallahassee after a frightening ordeal.
"Walked out on my balcony and there was smoke coming in, embers falling on top of us. I didn't know what was going on, then I heard people yelling in the hallway," said David Irwin, who took his 12-year-old daughter Lindsey on the Jamaica cruise for her spring break.
Hundreds of passengers on the Star Princess cruise awoke in the middle of the night to a fire alarm. Thousands of miles out in the ocean, everyone was told to evacuate their rooms and go outside on the deck.
"They were running around and screaming and going down the stairs really fast, there was flames and smoke all over the place," said Lindsey.
When her mother heard the news back in Tallahassee, she said she couldn't have been more afraid for her daughter's safety.
"It was frantic, it was crazy, we were very worried and couldn't get in touch with anyone and finally they were able to e-mail us and then we knew they were okay," said Karen Ross.
One person died, two others are hospitalized. David Irwin says he never imagined he'd be a survivor of a major tragedy.
"My main thing was trying to build some childhood memories for her and I think I accomplished that, so I mean, I think this is something she'll never forget, either one of us."
For the father and daughter duo, their dream vacation nearly turned into a nightmare. Returning to Tallahassee Friday night, they say they've never felt luckier to be alive.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or email@example.com.