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Cruise Passengers Dock in Sydney After Getting Stranded Amid Storms

The Carnival Spirit had 2,500 passengers and 1,500 crew aboard.
/ Source: NBC News

Thousands of weary passengers stranded at sea for more than 24-hours as 30-foot waves blocked their cruise ship from docking finally made it back to shore early Wednesday in Australia.

The Carnival Spirit — with 2,500 passengers and 1,500 crew aboard — was forced to remain out at sea as a massive storm pummeled Australia's coastline and shut down Sydney Harbor.

"Upstairs on the main deck a lot of the glass had actually been pushed out and smashed all over the place, chairs just turned like lollipops, it was just crazy," passenger Ernie Pittana said.

"It was horrific," passenger Rachel Browne told The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. "You couldn't hear a thing anyone said, the noise was so loud and the rain was blowing sideways. "The glasses and teacups in my room smashed…They just blew off the table and hit the wall.”

On land, winds of up to 85 mph uprooted trees, crushed cars, snapped power poles and tore off roofs and building awnings. Damages were already in the millions and were expected to rise, according to officials.

- Henry Austin