10 from Bemidji were aboard stricken cruise ship in South China Sea

  • Updated: April 1, 2012 - 7:36 PM

The Azamara Quest is tied up at the dock on arrival at the port in Sandakan, Malaysia, Sunday, April 1, 2012.

Photo: Mark Baker, Associated Press

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Ten of the 1,000 or so people on board the cruise ship that reached port Sunday after being disabled by a fire in the South China Sea are from Bemidji, Minn., the Bemidji Pioneer reported Sunday.

The Bemidji residents are June Buenger, Miriam Smart, Susan Sandell, Sue Cuperus, Kevin and Susan Lind, Jeff and Evi Thompson, and Patricia and Ernie Rall, the paper said. Former Bemidji resident Diane Patnode is also aboard.

Patricia Rall, an arts and entertainment reporter for the Pioneer, had been sending the paper reports from the stricken ship. In the most recent one, at www.startribune.com/a1174, she complained about the lack of air conditioning, but also wrote of some advantages of being adrift at sea:

"Schools of fish are swimming alongside the ship, jumping up out of the water, perhaps to catch some invisible, to our eyes, food. Dolphins are dancing off to the side to provide some entertainment or perhaps just curious about this floating object.

"Our dead-in-the-water stance also brings some freighters close enough to see the people on the decks looking over. They continue to go by after a good view, but it is comforting to know that there are other ships ready to help us should the need arise."


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