The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

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February 16, 2013

Local woman share details of experience on Triumph cruise; glad to be home

PALESTINE — Known for having a positive attitude, Palestine resident Charla Higginbotham was still upbeat but exhausted Friday evening on her way home after exiting the crippled cruise ship Carnival Triumph late Thursday night in Mobile, Ala.

Higginbotham was one of at least seven people with ties to Palestine who were aboard the ship when an engine room fire  knocked out the ship’s primary power source on Sunday.

“Bad things happen. I just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, but I will cruise again, but I’ll  never forget this experience — I will never forget it,” Higginbotham said during a phone interview with the Herald-Press Friday as she and her husband, Robert, drove back from Galveston to Palestine.

On Facebook, Charla wrote to her friends:  “I will never ever forget this week and am so very thankful God was with us. Boy, did He find a way to make me stop and realize the important things in life!”

Even though she hadn’t slept since Wednesday night on the ship’s mini golf course, her first plan when she arrived in Palestine was to see her oldest son Matthew in the hospital.

“We are going straight to the hospital to see Matt,” said Charla, who used her cell phone whenever she could get a signal to call her husband and check on her son.

“When a cruise ship came by to bring us supplies, we would stand by the rail holding out our phone to ping off the satellite and get a call out,” Charla recalled.

Matthew was being treated at Palestine Regional Medical Center when Charla left for the cruise.

“If I would have known what those four days were going to turn into, I might have done things differently, but it was only supposed to be a weekend trip,” Charla said.

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