County councilor on sinking cruise ship off Antarctica

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By Carol A. Clark

Forced to abandon their sinking cruise ship and travel on lifeboats in sub-zero temperatures, Los Alamos County Councilor Robert Gibson and wife Lori Heimdahl Gibson survived and are due home today.Gloria Castillo from the Los Alamos County administrators office confirmed Friday that the Gibsons were on the ship.“They are fine,” Castillo said, and e-mailed an account of the accident and subsequent rescue. The ordeal began late Thanksgiving night, when an official of the Chilean Navy said they received a distress call from the Explorer saying it hit an iceberg. The ship, which carried a Liberian flag, was on day 12 of a 19-day tour of the southern Atlantic and Antarctic Peninsula.According to reports, the vessel had a hole larger than a fist in its hull. It began taking on water and the electricity eventually went out. Few passengers showed signs of worry as they boarded lifeboats and rafts around 3 a.m. Reports indicate their behavior was peaceful and controlled, no one panicked.Some of the passengers were reported in a Chilean newspaper to have grown cold and weary after spending some four hours in rafts and lifeboats before boarding the M/S Nordnorge, a Norwegian cruise liner.

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