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NC couple present for a dramatic sea rescue

Dave Moller

A Nevada City couple got more than they expected from their Pacific islands cruise this week.

Arnold and Donna Goldberg awoke on the cruise ship Norwegian Star around 1 a.m. Tuesday to learn it was involved in an open-sea rescue. The ship was on course for Fanning Island, south of the Hawaiian Islands, when “the watch saw flares go up,” Goldberg said Wednesday.

The cruise boat headed toward the flares and found a burning Indonesian oil tanker adrift.

“They’d been floating around on the ocean since March 13,” Goldberg said from a safe berth on Maui Wednesday. “They had ships pass right by them that wouldn’t stop.”

The crew rowed a lifeboat over to the tanker and took 13 crew members off. Eleven of them were cold, shaken and hungry, Goldberg said.

But one was dead and another was burned over 50 percent of his body. Fortunately, the Norwegian Star has a hospital, where the 12 survivors were treated, Goldberg said.

“The ship employees gave them $1,000,” he said, “and clothing from the ship’s store.”

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter picked up the burned man and the deceased mate Wednesday morning. Once up on deck, the Goldbergs watched as a U.S. Coast Guard ship picked up the remaining tanker crew. The cruise ship then made its way to Maui.

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