Couple recounts terrifying 30 hours in cruise ship

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Couple recounts terrifying 30 hours in cruise ship

ROME - A South Korean honeymoon couple who survived a fatal cruise ship accident in Italy yesterday recounted their panic-filled 30 hours spent trapped inside the darkened and upended ship.

“We slipped into the corridor as water began to rise in our cabin. We then shouted ourselves hoarse calling for help and blew the whistles attached to our life jackets,” said Han Gi-deok, a 29-year-old schoolteacher, in an interview with Yonhap News Agency.

“We subsisted on a few bits of cookies and water, worrying that we might be trapped there for a long time,” said Han’s 29-year-old wife, Jeong Hye-jin, who also is a teacher.

The couple was rescued on Sunday morning after the luxury cruise Costa Concordia struck a rock and keeled over in shallow waters late Friday off Italy’s Tuscan coast with more than 3,000 passengers and 1,000 crewmembers aboard.

At least five people died and more than a dozen are still missing, according to media reports.

The couple said they had not sensed the shipwreck at first because they had taken a nap just after dinner.

“It was only after we woke up that we realized the ship was titling,” Han said.

“We went out to the corridor but ended up slipping toward the end of the corridor and were even injured from the steep incline,” Han said.

The couple then returned to the dark and unpowered cabin, taking turns wearing an extra life jacket over their own life jackets to endure the chilly winter wind blowing into the cabin through the cracked windows.

Fortunately, the water stopped rising inside the cabin, Han recalled. “We encouraged each other, promising to live a good life together if we escape.”

The two hung on 30 hours till rescue forces arrived, consuming bits of cookies and water.

“Since we were in complete darkness with no electricity inside the ship, we could only distinguish night and day through a ray of light coming from a small hole on the wall of the cabin,” Jeong said.

When rescuers eventually found them at around 1 a.m. on Sunday, Jeong recalled that it was like meeting a hero.

The two were the last among the 34 South Korean passengers rescued from the ship.

Jeong said she wants to go on another honeymoon trip to replace the one ruined by the disaster, but added, “I do not want to go on another cruise.”


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