The nation's finest yellow journalists were rabid to pin down as many Splendor passengers as possible for an interview this morning, just after the cruise liner was docked (hours ahead of schedule, thanks to six trusty tugboats).

“More than 3,000 passengers were forced to survive at sea on the 13-story floating hotel without electricity,” CBS News reported dramatically.

The victims shared, via cell phone, the horrors of 72-hour confinement on the Splendor after its engine room caught fire:

Clogged toilets. Spam for breakfast. Stuffy staterooms. Fitful naps on poolside recliners.

Are these American heroes — limping down the Carnival ramp at the San Diego dock as we speak, backlit by crashing sea spray and the “Armageddon” score — our very own Chilean miners?

Although Carnival Cruise Lines had been reporting throughout the ordeal that “most” toilets were functional, its customers had a different story to tell this morning.

Danny Cole told CBS:

“[There were] people getting upset by the toilet situation. They couldn't flush, and there's quite a big smell issue on the ship.”

Then there was brave little Angela Evans, whose heart broke as she watched her parents peruse a makeshift menu of preservatives:

“They were not interested in Spam and Pop Tarts. I left him a text message saying, 'Hey dad, do they have multiple flavors of Spam?'”

Passenger Sahizah Alim of Sacramento told the Associated Press:

“We're so happy to be getting off. Everybody's been cheering and clapping. It's been like a nightmare. … There's been no food, no power, no electricity, no flushing toilets. I spent the night tossing and turning in my cabin in the dark.”

It's almost… as if… they were 2,200 feet underground! Only worse, because there was no little hole overhead dropping down Mp3 players, mini TVs, peaches, beer and whatever else those spoiled bastards may have asked for.

What do you think: Have we got ourselves 3,000 more Chilean miners for the history books?

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