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Tri-State Woman Survives Deadly Cruise Ship Fire

March 26, 2006 at 11:41 PM

What would you do if you were trapped on burning ship in the middle of the ocean.

For one Missouri woman a vacation with her cousin turned into a life death struggle for survival.

Last week A Star Princess cruise ship on it's way from Grand Cayman to Jamaica caught on fire, allegedly due to a discarded cigarette.

This is the amazing of Mary Jo Dean of Kahoka Missouri and how she survived that deadly day.

24 hours before the fire Mary Jo says she shared one of her fears with her cousin.

" I said you know it'd be something if somebody would be smoking on this and maybe flip a cigarette, thinking it could go right in the ocean but of course you decks went out drop down , went out drop down. That worried me, the cigarettes worried me. I worried about that.

That worry became strangely prophetic around 3am Thursday morning, when they heard a bang outside.

But they heard people in the hall saying" hurry, hurry. Mary's cousin looked down below their balcony and saw the fire. They quickly grabbed some clothes and their life jackets and headed out into the hallway.

" Then she opened the door and it was just black with smoke, we couldn't see nothing. She slammed the door shut, ran back, hollered to the fire fighters " The hall is full of smoke". And he says ...." Get out in that hall and run, run, run."

Now began a desperate crawl along the hallway for Mary Jo and her cousin.

" We crawled for quite a while and finally I just dropped down on the floor and I fell back on my side, I was laying down and I said, " Sharon, I'm gonna die right here. I can't go on any further."

But her cousin and her faith gave Mary Jo the strength to go on.

" She says. " Come, come on, come just come. And it felt like somebody took me up and put me back on my hands. And all this put me back on my hands. And all this time I was praying that Jesus would help me through this, bring us all out safely. I was praying for everybody on that ship."

Mary Jo's clothes still have soot on them from crawling. Along the way they picked up a third person. And then as if in a movie....a light appeared in the darkness.

" And I tell you it was like Heaven sent light and men hollered in and asked if anybody was in here and we all hollored, yes help us. And a couple of guys got us up and they said run to the light."

At the end of that light Mary Jo found safety.

Within hours she was off the boat she was off the boat. Within days she was flying back home to the loving arms of her family.

Despite what she went through Mary Jo Dean says that she would be willing to take another cruise sometime in the future.


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