Carnival cruise ship crashes into gangway at Baltimore port, causing it to collapse on three vehicles

The Carnival Pride cruise ship struck a gangway as the ship was docking in Baltimore on Sunday morning, sending the gangway crashing down on three parked vehicles.

Some passengers said they felt a thud as the bow of the ship struck the gangway but they weren't sure what it was. No one was injured in the incident and the pickup trucks that were crushed were unoccupied, officials said.

Some on the cruise, which was returning from an eight-day trip to the Bahamas, said they weren't too concerned about the incident after learning no one was hurt.

"Accidents happen," said Esther Smith, of Wellsville, Pa. She and her husband, Eric Smith, were celebrating her 50th birthday on the cruise.

"The fact that no one got hurt changed the whole mood of it," Eric Smith said.

No one was using the gangway, which is used by passengers to get on and off the ship, when the ship made contact with it, said Jennifer De La Cruz, a Carnival spokeswoman. The pickup trucks belonged to cruise employees.

The Carnival Pride is one of two cruise ships that have a home port in Baltimore, port spokesman Richard Scher said.

The incident caused minor damage to the ship, but De La Cruz said it planned to depart on time Sunday afternoon for another cruise. Passengers getting on and off the ship will use a crew gangway at the pier level.

"I was just so thankful that no one was hurt," said Michele Church, 56, of Wilmington, Del. She saw the aftermath of the incident from her ninth-floor room. "Because someone could have easily got killed."

Nicole Newsome, a friend of Church from Wilmington who was part of an eight-person group of friends, said she felt a "hard thump" when the gangway was struck.

"We just thought that's what happens when you dock," said Newsome, 45.

Carol Francis, 68, of Towson said it sounded like a "big boom" and was initially concerned about someone being trapped in the truck that was crushed. But she said she wasn't worried for her own safety. "It wasn't like we were in the middle of the ocean," she said.

cwells@baltsun.com

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