SALEM, Ore. — A Salem couple’s romantic wedding on a boat suddenly turned into a frightening situation. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured.
Reyna Cruz Cedillo and Romeo Cruz Nunez had been planning their wedding for a year. They decided to have their ceremony on the Willamette Queen Riverboat.
“I’ve always lived here and always wanted to get inside the boat,” said Cruz Cedillo. “It was my first time on the boat.”
The couple had 30 friends and family on board and were about to exchange rings when they got a warning – “hold on everybody.”
“When he was saying ‘hold on, hold on,’ I thought he was playing around because he was joking earlier,” Cruz Cedillo said of the warning.
Video shows the boat suddenly begin shaking and wedding guests being thrown to the floor.
“All those people fell of their chairs,” said Cruz Cedillo. “So, did all of the plates and glass on the top. They fell on the ground, too.”
The boat had hit rocks surrounding the Union Street Railroad Bridge.
The owner of the riverboat, Richard Chesbrough, told KGW the boat has been operating for 21 years and never crashed in that spot before.
The co-captain said he took the boat down the middle of the river instead of along the side, which is the normal route, because of an overhanging tree. He told the Coast Guard a strong current took the boat and he couldn’t get it under control.
Cruz Cedillo said her 3-year-old son was hit by a podium. But Chesbrough disputes that claim.
“I was more scared for my son than myself,” Cruz Cedillo said.
Once the boat settled, everyone came together to clean up the glass. They eventually finished the ceremony.
“Our special day, I wanted it to be everything to be perfect for them, for us,” said Cruz Cedillo.
“It was just more traumatizing and scary,” she said.
The now-married couple said they were given a refund. They also said they hope to ride the boat again under different circumstances.