Fla. woman recounts Costa Concordia cruise crash off Italy

Karen Camacho and her husband, Luis Hernandez, had just been served their soup in the dining room of the Costa Concordia when they hear
d a big noise on one side of the boat.
Then I heard another noise," Camacho, 34, said. "Everything was falling off the table. People started screaming and running out of the dining room. They said (over the loudspeaker in many languages) that they were having a problem with the generator and not to worry. We stayed. The waiters said to stay calm. I was crying and I said, 'There's something wrong.' "
The Homestead, Fla., couple were among more than 4,000 passengers and crewmembers aboard the Costa Concordia when the cruise ship hit a reef off the Italian coast, flooded with water and listed to one side. At least six people died in the accident and 29 remain unaccounted for, including two Americans, Jerry Heil, and his wife, Barbara, of White Bear Lake, Minn.
PHOTOS: Cruise ship runs aground off Italy
STORY: Costa CEO blames captain's error
MORE: Costa CEO blames captain's error for ship grounding
Camacho said she felt the boat tilting and saw crewmembers running. "We went to the cabin, and I put boots and a coat on because it was cold and got my cellphone and camera," she said.
The couple went down some stairs and tried to get in the hallway toward the lifeboats. Things were already chaotic. "There were so many people in the hallway pushing. I told my husband we had to get outside and - I'm not going to lie - we were pushing, too," she said. People were screaming in French and Italian. She said the crewmembers they saw didn't know what to do.
"No one was giving directions or saying older people and kids should get in boats first," Camacho said. "Maybe some crewmembers did, but I didn't see it. Instead of letting passengers get into lifeboats, the crew were in first and saying not to let (passengers) in. My husband, he just climbed over a fence into a lifeboat after they closed it. Then they opened the gate for me. The lifeboat got stuck, and they couldn't get it down. I said to my husband, 'We are going to die here.' I had seen Titanic and kept thinking of that movie."
Camacho said a man told them to go over to the other side of the ship.
"We went back through the dining room," she said. "It was full of water and glass. We got out and saw a little boat coming. It had been to the shore and was coming back. My husband jumped in and pulled me in. I hurt my knee a little. But there was worse: a lady who slipped and hurt her back and someone who broke her leg."
The couple arrived on the island of Giglio, joining other survivors. "We didn't know what to do. We asked crew members. No one knew. It was freezing. My husband was in his shirt and didn't have a jacket," Camacho said. "We were hugging each other to keep warm. Islanders were throwing blankets to people who had nothing. Everyone was grabbing them."
Eventually, she said, they got on a ferry and were given a thermal blanket by the Red Cross. "He had to show them he only had a shirt…They they took us on a bus…and then on another bus. Oh my God, I was exhausted,'' she said.
After a 2½-hour drive, they arrived at the Hilton Rome Airport hotel. Late Monday, the couple were still at the hotel. Camacho said she thinks Costa Cruises is covering the room and buffet meals, but Costa has not been in touch regarding arrangements. The two escaped with no money. "They're treating us very bad," said Camacho, who works for an export company. "There's no organization."
"The (U.S.) Embassy sent taxis, and we got temporary passports. (Two fellow passengers) gave me money to buy leggings and a sweater. We have not heard from Costa. I think they are paying for the hotel, but they have done nothing (else). We had some money transferred to us, and we need to go and get it," Camacho said. "I want to go back home. I want to see my kids. They're 7 and 2½. The 7-year-old saw me on the news crying. This is too much."

0 komentar:

Post a Comment