Passengers panic as cruise ship tilts sideways

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Passengers on board the Carnival Sunshine described a minute-and-a-half of panic as the ship tilted sideways, sending passengers and items flying across the ship. 

The ordeal happened Sunday night sometime after 9 p.m. after the cruise ship departed from Port Canaveral, Florida en route to the Dominican Republic. 

Passenger Tony Williams from Henry County snapped cell phone video of the aftermath in the buffet area, where plates and items are strewn about and crew members pick up debris.

Other photos from passengers show items thrown violently across cabins and items in disarray.

"We heard the noises of the plates first. Then it continued, and the tilt started," said wife Kyla Williams, who saw crew members holding onto poles for safety.

 "I had to hold her-- pull her by her arm, pull her back," said Tony Williams, who described watching his wife slide away from her at the dinner table. "In my mind, I'm thinking 'Titanic,'" he said.

 The tilt eventually corrected itself and the ship continued onto the Dominican Republic. The Williams said they did not feel comfortable remaining on the ship, and asked to disembark; the couple told FOX 5 they received a refund of 110 percent, vouchers of $100 each for another cruise, and a free flight back to Atlanta.

Passengers reported receiving a letter from the captain explaining the problem stemmed from the fin stabilizer, which smooths the impact of the waves. 

A statement from Carnival apologized for the disruption:

"On Sunday evening, Carnival Sunshine experienced a technical issue which caused the ship to list. There was never any issue with the safe operation of the ship and our officers quickly intervened to correct the situation."

"We still love Carnival. We just won't be on the Sunshine no time soon," Kyla Williams said.