LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Authorities said six patients were treated, four of which were taken to the hospital, after falling ill aboard a docked cruise ship in San Pedro.
Daniel Curry, a battalion chief for the Los Angeles Fire Department, said firefighters were initially called following a report of one patient who had fallen ill.
Upon arrival, firefighters treated six patients, of which four were transported to the hospital.
“They were in fair condition … nobody in immediate need, but they were sick and they needed to be transported,” said Curry of the patients who were transported.
The patients had been aboard the Norwegian Joy, which had docked at Berth 91, a cruise terminal.
This marked the end of a 17-day sail that began in Miami and traveled through parts of Columbia, Guatemala and parts of the Mexican Riviera before arriving in San Pedro, where emergency crews were waiting.
Curry said there were between 2,000-3,000 people on board the ship.
Passengers say the ship made an announcement on board three days ago when people began getting ill on board. “They announced that there were a lot of people sick and a lot of things were restricted,” said passenger Brigitte Leise.
They were told to sanitize their hands whenever leaving a room and weren’t allowed to serve themselves food.
“My hands are kind of raw from being washed so many times,” said passenger Glenn Lukos
“They took all the pillows and they were sanitizing those and then when we got off the ship they had the hazmat suits on and they were sanitizing all the rooms,” according to passenger Judy Lukos.
Passengers say it was norovirus, a highly contagious gastrointestinal illness. But no one from the fire department or Norwegian cruises would confirm that. They did release a statement, though: “During Norwegian Joy’s Panama Canal sailing, a few guests on board experienced a stomach related illness. To mitigate any impact of this rare occurrence, we implemented stringent sanitation procedures. ”
The affected passengers are expected to be okay and the ship is being loaded for another cruise leaving Sunday evening.