A New Jersey couple who survived the overturned Costa Concordia confirmed that there had been no safety drill demonstrated while they were on board the cruise ship.
Brick residents Mike Stoll and Addie King had planned a weeklong Mediterranean area cruise, and had explored Rome and seen pieces of history. That was before their cruise ship ran aground.
LoHud.com reported that seconds after the initial crash, the ship began listing and the dining room fell into a panic. “It turned into a scene from the film 'Titanic,' despite the staff's best efforts to pass it off as something that "happens sometimes," like an airplane hitting turbulence, according to the couple.
NBC New York reported that Stoll and King were among more than 4,000 people who survived the Costa Concordia disaster. At least 11 people have died.
Captain Francesco Schettino is being charged with manslaughter for reportedly refusing to reboard the cruise ship to direct passengers’ evacuation. According to 7online.com, a recording of Schettino’s conversation with Italian Coast Guard Capt. Gregorio De Falco indicated that he abandoned the ship before everyone was off – and refused to return.
Stoll called Schettino inept. "Not only was he not able to think or function under pressure, he abandoned us."
“We waited 45 minutes to actually board the lifeboats,” Stoll said, according to CBS New York. The couple finally squeezed into a lifeboat, and after a short boat ride, they reached the shore just before midnight Saturday.
They were back in Brick Township by Tuesday. “At this point we’re just happy to be alive,” said Stoll.