The survivors: 'Chaos reigned as men pushed ahead of women and kids to board lifeboats'

 

British passengers have told of the chaos on board the Costa Concordia cruise ship as men pushed ahead of women and children to get on to lifeboats as the ship listed after running aground off the coast of Italy.

Retired police chief inspector Ed Gurr, 64, and his wife Liz heard a jolt and the lights went out. They headed to the deck but members of the crew said it was a "generator problem". Mr Gurr said: "After about half an hour the crew told people to get into the lifeboats but the ship was listing at the time. Male passengers were pushing ahead of women and children. My wife got on to lifeboat 17 but then they closed the dock. I went to find another boat but my wife told me later that about 20 people had squeezed on after I left. Apparently someone even fell between the ship and the lifeboat but they managed to pull them back on."

Mr Gurr found safety on an inflatable lifeboat and met his wife on Giglio. He praised staff and people on the island but said: "I think it will be a while before we go on another cruise."

John Rodford, 46, and his wife Mandy, 45, from Medway in Kent were celebrating their wedding anniversary on the cruise. At Heathrow yesterday afternoon Mrs Rodford said she feared her "life was over" when she realised the angle of the ship meant the lifeboat she was in could not be lowered into the sea. She said: "I just thought my life was gone ... I thought, if I don't die from the swimming part, I'm going to die from the shock."

Honeymooners Ian and Janice Donoff were watching a magic show. They had to be lowered down the side of the boat on a rope ladder, after the ship's angle prevented the first lifeboat they boarded being dropped into the water. Mr Donoff told BBC News: "It's the most frightening thing coming down on a rope ladder ... it was an unbelievable ordeal."

Séamus and Carol Moore, from Clonmel in Co Tipperary, were on the cruise to celebrate Carol's 50th birthday. Their lifeboat almost collapsed because it was too full and had to be hauled back on deck.

They then called the friend looking after their youngest son "just to let him know what the situation was".

Mr Moore said: "Not to say anything to the children initially and to tell the kids that we loved them and tell them what our arrangements were in terms of leaving stuff, just in case."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

East15 Acting School: Finance and Contracts Officer

£20,781 to £24,057 per annum: East15 Acting School: The post involves general ...

Recruitment Genius: PA / Sales and Training Administrator

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Regional Support Manager

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role's responsibility also...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager - Heli Ski Specialist

£26000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen