Italian cruise ship survivors: Crew appeared helpless
At first, Vivian Shafer said, she thought it was part of the magic show aboard her Mediterranean cruise.
During the show, aboard the Costa Concordia, staffers had been “playing with the lights” and using smoke, “so we really weren’t that alarmed” as things began happening on the ship, she said Sunday.
Shafer said she and her traveling companion, Ronda Rosenthal, returned to their cabin after the ship gave a “shudder,” but were reassured by their cabin steward the ship was experiencing a “small technical difficulty.” And as the two got into bed, someone speaking on behalf of the ship’s captain made an announcement saying there was an electrical problem that would be fixed soon.
However, it became clear that something was amiss aboard the 1,500-cabin luxury vessel, after the two heard announcements regarding lifeboats and muster stations. They dressed, grabbed their life jackets and went to investigate, coming upon a chaotic scene.
“We peeked around the corner to kind of see what people were doing … and my gosh, people were actually getting in a lifeboat,” Shafer said.
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At least five people died after the Concordia ran aground on the tiny island of Giglio Friday night. Several others remained unaccounted for.
Survivors recounted a frantic rush by passengers to get on lifeboats, while the crew appeared helpless and overwhelmed to cope.
“There wasn’t anybody to help you,” Shafer said. “I mean, the passengers were loading the lifeboats by themselves.”
Carnival Corporation, the parent company of Costa Cruises, said in a statement Saturday that it was “working to fully understand the cause of what occurred. The safety of our guests and crew members remains the number-one priority of Carnival Corporation … and all of our cruise lines.”