Local couple recalls chaos aboard the Costa Concordia
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- A local couple on the cruise ship that ran aground in Italy on Friday says that they got no help from the captain or other authorities with the cruise company.
The Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground off Porto Santo Stefano, Italy. Onboard was a couple from Cambridge on their honeymoon. The couple said the scene was chaotic.
Benji Smith, who was traveling with his new wife Emily, said most passengers were on their own.
“We scrambled around the ship looking for the best way to go. Some of us ran to lower deck, some of us ran to the upper deck. When we were afraid the stairways were flooded with water we made ladders out of ropes and used those ladders to climb down,” said Smith. “We waited, clinging to those rope ladders for 3.5 hours.”
Others onboard also described the mayhem.
“People were passing out, people were getting nervous, people were having chest pains. I was having chest pains, I was having anxiety because I don’t know how to swim,” said Maria Papa.
“We were dangling above the water with the lifeboats probably for about another hour before they even released them,” said Melissa Goduti.
“When we got into water we couldn’t get away from the ship because it kept towing in,” said Goduti.
The rock ripped a 160-foot gash in the hull on Friday, killing six people. The company owned by Carnival blames human error on the captain’s part. He says his navigation gear showed it was clear. He was arrested for manslaughter and abandoning ship.
Smith said they finally got some help with the lifeboats, but not from who they thought.
“The people manning these boats were just cooks and shopkeepers in the boat -- they weren’t the sailors. It wasn’t the captains -- never heard from any of those guys. Never heard their voices, never saw any of them. They never helped us evacuate. We were totally abandoned,” said Smith.
Sixteen people are unaccounted for, including two American passengers from Minnesota. The family released a statement on Monday saying they are waiting patiently for the rescuers to safely try to find their parents.
Chances that they would be found alive three days after the ship was speared by the reef and toppled to one side grew slimmer. Rescue missions were halted Monday after the Costa Concordia shifted in rough seas.
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