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Fifty-Two Passengers Fall Ill on Cruise

June 24, 1996

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Fifty-two cruise passengers fell ill during a weeklong trip to Mexico. One man died, but a Carnival Cruise Lines spokesman said it appeared to be unrelated to the unidentified sickness that swept the ship.

The ship Jubilee returned Sunday as people left the boat calling it ``the trip from hell.″ Los Angeles County coroner’s officials met the ship when it docked and an autopsy was expected to be performed on the dead passenger.

Details of the death of 52-year-old Russell Lum of Berkeley remained sketchy because he had been sick the week before sailing and had been to see his doctor, said Tim Gallagher, a spokesman for Miami-based Carnival.

A spokesman at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control confirmed that the CDC had been contacted by Carnival, but said it couldn’t confirm speculation that the sickness was caused by an airborne virus.

``This was like Dr. Kevorkian’s trip from hell,″ said passenger Sharla Dale, 34, of Novato. ``Just about everyone else on the cruise we spoke to, everyone we sat with, was sick.″

Elizabeth Young, a 35-year-old teacher from Thermal, said seven people in her party of 11 became sick.

``We all walked down to the infirmary one morning. But there was such a long line ... we decided to get something ourselves, in port.″

The ship left San Pedro last Sunday with 1,897 passengers. It included stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

Fifty-two passengers reported to the infirmary during the trip with symptoms resembling food poisoning, Gallagher said.

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