Gina Howe, of Saline, right, with her friend Carrie Mason Burgess as they set out last Thursday on the ill-fated Carnival Triumph cruise out of Galveston, Tex. PHOTO PROVIDED BY THE FAMILY OF GINA HOWE
The Coast Guard cutter Vigorous stands by to assist the cruise ship Carnival Triumph in the Gulf of Mexico.(Photo: U.S. Coast Guard via AFP/Getty Images)
MOBILE, Ala. (Detroit Free Press) - A Saline woman stranded on the disabled cruise ship Carnival Triumph is a diabetic who has had no insulin since Sunday, her sister said this afternoon when she finally heard from her for the first time in three days.
"I picked up the phone, and she said, Eden? And I said, Gina? And we both started crying," says Eden Davis of Pinckney. "I asked my sister, have you gotten insulin? And she said no, they don't have any."
Gina Howe, 44, of Saline, and a friend, Carrie Mason Burgess, boarded Carnival Triumph last Thursday in Galveston, Tex., for a short Caribbean cruise.
After a fire, the disabled ship has drifted in the gulf without electricity, sanitation or much food. It still was being towed to Alabama as of this afternoon.
A frantic Davis has called Carnival two or three times a day every day and said she was assured that the ship had insulin available for passengers.
Today when she heard from her sister, she was horrified to hear of conditions there.
"She said she is OK, and she did get protein to eat today. She said she just wants off the ship," Davis said. "I do believe she is not in emergency medical need. They gave them bacon and eggs today. That was the first real thing they've had, other than fruit, vegetables, water and bread.
"I didn't ask specifically where she was sleeping. She said they were staying on the top deck, that the smell is horrendous, that there are feces everywhere, and that she didn't want to get sick.
"My sister does not exaggerate. In my heart of hearts I wanted to believe the stories I heard were being embellished. They are not. Gina confirmed again today they have to use the restroom in a biohazard bag."
Davis also said that passengers have not been told exactly when they will dock.
"I also asked her the plan (for docking). She said every time they tell them something, it changes. The last time for docking was 11, but now they don't know when they are docking."
Howe is an orthodontist assistant in Brighton.
She was out of touch with her sister after her cell phone died on Monday and there was no way to make a call.
But Davis said one heartening thing is that it sounds as if passengers have banded together to help each other.
"Today they created some kind of makeshift chargers and I think they are charging their phones. At this point the next call I should get from her is hopefully when she steps off the ship."