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Stranded Carnival Splendor cruise ship arrives in San Diego

A disabled cruise ship that caught fire off the coast of Mexico has arrived in San Diego and disembarked most of its 4,500 passengers and crew.

The first passengers straggled off the Carnival Splendor in San Diego starting around 8:30 a.m. PST. It took nearly five hours for the 4,500 passengers and crew to disembark as elevators were disabled by the engine room fire that stranded the ship in the Pacific Monday.

The passengers were forced to survive three nights at sea on the 13-story floating hotel without electricity, limited amounts of food and backed-up toilets when the cruise ship lost electricity on Monday because of a fire on board.

The Carnival Splendor was 200 miles (310km) from San Diego when the fire broke out in its engine room on Monday.

The 952ft (290m) ship, which is owned by Carnival Cruise Lines, was pulled into San Diego Bay at about 0830 local time (1630 GMT) by six tugboats and escorted by several Coast Guard vessels. Individuals on the ship and about 100 people onshore cheered loudly as the Carnival Splendor reached land.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it will open an investigation into what happened.