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Coronavirus: Lethbridge man trapped at sea returns home

Lethbridge man quarantined at sea returns home
WATCH: After more than 50 days of being trapped at sea on a cruise ship due to COVID-19, one Lethbridge man has finally arrived home. As Emily Olsen reports, his concern now is for his colleagues who are still at sea.

Evan Herbert, 28, is back in Lethbridge this week after being trapped at sea on the Emerald Princess cruise ship for more than 50 days due to COVID-19 restrictions.

He, along with hundreds of other staff, was transferred from working on the Holland America cruise line to quarantining on the ship after American Centers for Disease Control issued a no-sail order on March 14.

READ MORE: Lethbridge man stuck on cruise ship for nearly 8 weeks: ‘I imagine this is what prison is like’

“After March 15, we were sent out to sea,” Herbert said Monday. “And we were anchored in the same place for 56 days.”

He said living isolated in cramped staff dorms was like prison.

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“They’re telling you when you can eat, when you can go breathe some fresh air and see the sunlight,” Herbert explained.

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“You’re not seeing land, you’re not putting your foot on the soil [and] you’re confined to your quarters for 22 hours out of 24.”

He said he is happy to finally be home but is deeply concerned for the thousands of cruise ship crew members still trapped at sea with no way out and resources dwindling.

“All we could see was water. There was no land, no place we could go get groceries,” Herbert said.

“A lot of people ran out of medicine.”

After weeks of receiving temperature checks twice a day and following strict distancing orders, he said that his first time back on land was surreal.

“I’m just looking over my shoulder for security, making sure I’m six feet apart from the next person with me,” he said.

He said people in communities like Lethbridge may not realize the seriousness of COVID-19 because they haven’t seen it firsthand.

“It is real and I’ve seen it,” he said. “I’ve seen it in my friends and my colleagues. So it’s real. It’s not a joke.”

READ MORE: Lethbridge couple reflects on getting stuck on cruise amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Despite everything he has been through, Herbert said he is excited to return to life at sea and for his mandatory 14-day quarantine to be over.