AUSTIN (KXAN) - Across Central Texas on Thursday, relieved friends and loved ones of the stranded passengers aboard the Carnival Triumph began receiving phone calls from the ship.
The crew set up temporary power lines to make cell phone use possible.
In Leander, Lanette Jackson had not heard from her son Vernon or his fiancé Kim since a text message when the engine room caught fire last Sunday.
"I could hear it in his voice, he said, 'Mom, it is not good,'" she said.
He told her how the trip home was especially tough on children and seniors. "He said it's been really bad on the elderly and he said, 'Mom, I just can't talk about it.'"
Passengers set up tents on deck because cabins had no air conditioning, but sleeping was difficult.
"They're just exhausted. He said the ship has been listing to the right or left constantly -- you're always off balance," Jackson said.
With electricity and plumbing lines not functioning, the ship has been awash in human waste.
"He said it was horrible; it's everywhere. They try to accommodate 12 restrooms, and he said within minutes they're overflowing or broken down."
With the food rotting, there was not much to eat.
"They've been eating onion sandwiches, tomato sandwiches, pesto," Jackson said. "He said there was a four-hour line to get a hamburger."
Jackson is hoping Vernon and Kim make it back to their apartment in Plano by Saturday. She'll be there to greet them.
A local road project more than two decades in the making won't save drivers as much time as many had hoped.
The University of Texas Board of Regents adjourned Thursday without taking action on the job status of embattled UT President Bill Powers.
Longhorns coach Mack Brown talked with reporters Thursday for the first time since reports surfaced this week that he could be stepping down.
Two men were arrested and a third was being sought by police for the shooting death of 47-year-old Russell Martens.
After two hours of discussion regarding the final design for Auditorium Shores, the Austin City Council decided to approve the design on a vote of 7-0 with amendments.
Despite what seemed like a surge of controversies, the Austin Aquarium opened its doors to members Thursday for a private pre-entry showing.