After reading through these accounts of survivors of the Costa Concordia shipwreck, you may concur that no one had to die, if the evacuation were just handled with more expediency.The death toll now stands at 11, with 22 missing; and the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, is expected to be charged with manslaughter and abandoning ship, AP reports.
The overwhelming impression one senses of this disaster is that of negligence. But you will also read of the ingenuity, bravery, and compassion of those who quickly realised that they would have to try to save themselves.
Spouses Laurence and Andrea Davis were sitting on the bottom of a two-level dining room when the ship hit the ground. 'I just recall hearing a bang,' Laurence told the Calgary Herald.
People were stampeding to get to safety, Andrea said, and when the ship tilted up, she and her husband were standing on the fourth deck. The water was coming in.
Laurence decided: 'We gotta swim or we're gonna die.'
They jumped, the Calgary Herald reported.
Jozsef Balog was one of the last people to see Sandor Feher, a ship violinist and the first disaster victim to be identified
Balog, a pianist who worked with Feher, told the Blikk newspaper that Feher had been helping distressed children put on their lifejackets when he decided to go back to his cabin to pack his violin, reports AP.
He was was last seen, wearing a lifejacket, on deck walking to a lifeboat.
'We asked what was going on and they said it was the generator,' John told AP (via Yahoo).
When the evacuation began, he said that 'the only people that were helping that we saw were the chefs and the servers and the coatmen who had just served us our meal.'
'We didn't see anyone else in a captain coat,' he added.
'Literally, if you've seen the Titanic, it was the scene right out of that, all the plates, everything, flying right off the table,' Stoll told NBC.
King said that, amid the chaos, a crew member was telling her to calm down and go have a drink in the lounge.
'They were not rescue workers,' Stoll said of the crew, adding that the ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, had abandoned them.
'There wasn't anybody that was in control' Jim Salzburg told the WGN News (via the Chicago Tribune). He was travelling on the Costa Concordia with his wife, Jo, and daughter, Mary-Jo.
'We heard this big jolt and it was the most unusual noise you could ever imagine,' said Jo of the ship's grounding.
Jim added: 'You began to realise that the Costa crew wasn't going to save you; if you were going to get off this ship, you were going to save yourself,' WGN News reported.
Mike Kajian and his friends were eating dinner when the cruise ship ran aground, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. A seasoned cruise traveller, he never thought the vessel would capsize.
Kajian, however, said he is grateful that the wreck was not more like the Titanic: 'The biggest difference is we were not caught in the middle of the ocean,' he said told the Sentinel, adding: 'I don't know how we would have survived the ocean.'
Kathy Ledtke had only eaten one breadstick at dinner with her husband, Steve, when there was a 'big thud,' she told the Detroit Free Press.
The lights went on and off, and an announcement said that there was an electrical problem.
Worried, the Ledtkes decided to go straight to the lifeboats, to get them ready for evacuation. They were told repeatedly to step back and not to worry.
About an hour and a half later, the bells were rung to abandon ship.
'It just makes you mad,' said Steve to the Detroit Free Press. 'Everybody could have been off.'
Dean and Georgia Ananias and their daughters, Valerie and Cindy were, like many other passengers, eating dinner when the cruise ship crashed, they told CNN (via the Huffington Post).
Dean, an ex-navyman, knew something was wrong when the propellors seemed to be vibrating. Then the water started tilting in his glass.
Heroically, the family stayed on the ship to aid passengers until the end of the evacuation, making sure children got off first, CNN reported.
Rose Metcalf, a dancer who had been performing on the cruise ship, said that she could barely stand up as the boat tilted to its side after the crash, reports the BBC.
She told the BBC she was on the boat for four and a half hours after the crash before she was airlifted from the side of the sinking ship.
'I'm so thankful for every day now and I'm so relieved for my parents because to lose a child would be a terrible thing,' Metcalf told the BBC.
Amelia Leon, a 22-year-old, was lucky enough to evacuate ship on a lifeboat that was led by her boyfriend, a Costa crew member, reports the Birmingham Mail. They got to Giglio, on whose shores the cruise ship ran aground, and took a ferry to Rome.
According to family legend, Leon is related to one of the violinists who died on the Titanic 100 years ago.
'It is an unfortunate coincidence,' she told the Mail.
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