A bunch of kids were rescued from a Virginia cruise ship shortly before it burned to a literal crisp
· Jun 10, 2022 · NottheBee.com

A parent's nightmare played out in Tidewater Virginia this week:

The smell of smoke interrupted what was a celebration of the end of the school year among a group of friends from Newport News' B.C. Charles Elementary, according to the father of one of the children who chaperoned the event.

The group of about a dozen fifth graders, who were there with their parents and chaperones, and a larger group of kindergartners from a Virginia Beach school, boarded the Spirit of Norfolk ship between 10:30 and 11 a.m. Tuesday for an easy cruise down the Elizabeth River to see the sights, enjoy a buffet and live DJ, and play some foosball and Jenga along the way.

There wouldn't be any foosball or Jenga that day, though—or at least nobody would remember it. What they would remember is the fire:

Jason Sleeth, father of 10-year-old Benjamin, a fifth grader at B.C. Charles, said he smelled a "distinct odor" around noon — halfway through the voyage that was to end at 1 p.m. — that he described as burning rubber, but he and the others assumed it was a normal part of being on a large vessel with naval yards and construction sites all around them.

Parents then noticed a faint trail of smoke coming up from the side of the ship, and Sleeth looked over the side to investigate. He said that "probably within seconds" that hint of smoke became dense and black, billowing over the top of the ship.

Thankfully everyone was evacuated from the ship safely. Footage and photos of the disaster, meanwhile, were incredible:

Well done to the first responders and rescuers who got everyone off the ship safely.

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