Family safe after terrorist attack in Tunisia

Didn’t join cruise line excursion tour to museum where attack took place

Sometimes, it’s a good thing just to hang around and do nothing all day.

Such a decision this week kept Maple Ridge realtor Ron Antalek and his family safe after fellow travellers on the cruise ship MSC Splendida were attacked during an excursion tour to a museum in Tunis, Tunisia.

A total of 23 people were killed when tourist buses at the museum were attacked by terrorists, March 18.

Twelve of those people were from the Splendida, the cruise line said on its website. Another 13 were injured.

Another five from the Costa Fascinosa, another cruise ship that was in port, were also killed.

Fortunately, Antalek, his wife Cathy and two kids, decided to stay at the dock and not jump on to one of the nine buses taking travellers on an on-shore excursion.

“They decided before they got there they’re not going into town. So they just stayed around the dock and then went back on board,” explained Brian Porter, Ron’s father-in-law who lives in Pitt Meadows.

Porter has been tracking the progress of the brief cruise around the Mediterrean. The ship made five stops in seven days and Tunis was the last one.

“It’s only a seven-day cruise, five ports. They did the others. They just figured no,” they wouldn’t go into town.

Porter told his family that there wasn’t much to see, so they stayed around the ship.

After about a 12-hour delay, the MSC Splendida left the Tunisian port at dawn Thursday and was headed back to Barcelona, Spain. The ship is now a third of way there, said Porter.

“They’re safe. They’ve left port.”

He’d been following the cruise ship online and heard about the attacks on the media.

“I knew about it before they did.”

Porter said he was worried for awhile.

“They’re fine. They’ll be about an and hour and a half  late into Barcelona.” But they’ll still make a connecting flight into London for the flight home.

MSC Cruises said that two passengers who had been missing from the Splendida turned up safe. A Spanish man and his pregnant wife spent the night hiding in the Bardo National Museum, the site of the terrorist attack.

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