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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Caught on infrared camera: The terrifying moment Concordia passengers had to clamber down to lifeboats in the dark on a single safety rope

-Italian Coastguard took footage of passengers waiting in the freezing cold
-Men pushed past children who were screaming 'I don't want to die'
-French survivor says young and elderly were 'abandoned by crew'

By Ian Sparks

One by one: Infra-red footage shows passengers of the Costa Concordia queuing up (on the right) and then slipping down one-by-one (on the left) the belly of the ship via a rope

Incredible infrared footage has emerged showing survivors slipping down the belly of the stricken Costa Concordia one-by-one using a rope.

The black-and-white video, taken by the Italian Coastguard, shows passengers queueing up to get into lifeboats.

Release of the film comes as a French survivor today claimed that panicking crew were already 'fleeing in their life jackets' before passengers were warned the cruise liner was sinking.

Pensioner Daniele Perruchon also said men shoved past children screaming 'I don't want to die' as they raced to save themselves aboard the sinking ship.

Scroll down to see video...

Escape: The black-and-white video, taken by the Italian Coastguard, show some passengers calmly queueing up to get into lifeboats

Search: The scale of the drop passengers endured on a safety rope can clearly be seen in this picture of the Costa Concordia, taken on Sunday

The 68-year-old was travelling with an elderly friend celebrating her 80th birthday when the chaos erupted on Friday night.

But she said they were abandoned in the darkness as the giant ship listed after striking rocks off Italian island of Giglio.

She and her friend were having dinner when the lights went out and crockery began crashing around them, she told French newspaper Nice-Matin.

She said: 'At that point a loud speaker announcement in Italian said 'The electrical circuit of the stabilizers has cut out. This is not a problem'.

Panic stations: The infrared cameras caught the chaotic scenes as hundred of passengers tried to leave the ship

Detained: Captain Francseco Schettino, pictured left in 2010, will appear in a Grosseto courthouse (right)

Chaos: Panicking crew aboard the stricken Costa Concordia were already 'fleeing in their life jackets' before passengers were warned the cruise liner was sinking, a French survivor claimed today

'Then as we were waiting in the gloom we saw terrified staff dashing past us in their life jackets. People were shouting and pushing each other.

'I was with an elderly person and determined not to panic. We made it back to our cabin and got our life jackets, then managed to reach one of the decks.

'Then we felt the ship begin tipping over. There was mass panic. The ship was at a steep angle and people were trying to reach the life boats by clinging to the walls.

'A woman fell on me and we went crashing into a telephone cabin. We managed to get into a life boat but it was unable to launch, and we were eventually taken off it by the Italian coastguard.'

But she added: 'At no time did anyone come and help us. We felt abandoned. So much for women and children first.

Abandoned: The Costa Concordia leans on its side just outside Giglio harbour last night

'I heard children crying out 'I don't want to die' as men pushed past trying to get themselves off the boat.'

Mrs Perruchon, from the French Riviera resort of Menton, said the cruise had been meant as a 'dream holiday' for her and her elderly friend.

She said: 'We have decided the first thing we are going to do is get straight back on another cruise liner to beat the fear.'

Rescuers have found six people dead inside the ship and are still searching for 29 people who remain missing from the 4,200 aboard.

They include five-year-old Italian girl Dyana Arlotti and her father William, 34, who are feared drowned after the vessel ran aground.

Grounded: Oil removal ships patrolled near the cruise ship Costa Concordia last night

Mr Arlotti, 34, from Rimini, who is divorced from Dyana’s mother, had taken his daughter on the cruise with his current partner as a treat.

Yesterday Dyana's distraught mother Susy Albertini told of her frantic search for news of her daughter. She said: 'I’ve made hundreds of calls to my ex-husband’s mobile phone but there is no answer.

‘I called all the authorities, the police, the town hall and the fire brigade but no one knows anything .

‘The last time I saw Dyana was on Thursday morning. I took her to nursery. Her father picked her up in the evening. It’s not the first time that she’s gone with her dad on a cruise – they both enjoy it. Dyana was happy when she left.

Missing: Barbara (left) and Gerald Heil (right), of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, are still unaccounted for after the disaster

‘They boarded the ship on Friday in Civitavecchia. I heard from William’s parents on Saturday morning that there were problems with the boat.’

Mr Arlotti and his daughter became separated from his partner Michela Maroncelli in the confusion to reach the lifeboats.

Miss Maroncelli, 32, said: ‘I climbed into a lifeboat but in the chaos I lost contact with William. I heard someone screaming, “Throw him a rope” and I was petrified that they were talking about him. I didn’t see William or Dyana again.’

Last night as darkness fell, Miss Albertini, 28, was anxiously waiting on the mainland for the search for her daughter to resume.

Meanwhile a survivor described how her husband gave his life to save her.

Unable to get into a lifeboat Frenchman Francis Servel, 71, insisted his wife Nicole take his lifejacket before they leapt off the sinking cruise ship into the sea.

‘For an hour we had waited in line to get into a lifeboat – my husband let everyone else go first,’ said Mrs Servel, a 60-year-old grandmother, back at home in Toulouse.
‘I can’t swim so he gave me his lifejacket.
‘He shouted “Jump, jump, jump”.

'I froze and couldn’t jump, but he jumped off the ship and shouted upwards, “Come on, don’t worry”.

‘I jumped off and the last thing I heard him say was that I would be fine. I never saw him again.’

She managed to swim ashore while her husband was swept under water and drowned.
During her time in the cold water, she said, ‘I thought of my children and grandchildren.

'The thought of them kept me afloat, kept me living. I don’t know how I did it.
‘I swam for several minutes and then I found myself on a rock.

‘Villagers came to pick us up. They led us to a church. I was very cold, frozen. In the sacristy we found a cassock. I put it on.’

Unaccounted: Erika Soria (left) a Peruvian crew member, has not been heard from since Friday evening. Pictured right, Dyana Arlotti (front left) and her father, William, celebrate her fifth birthday

The couple’s cruise had been paid for by their children as a present for their mother’s 60th birthday.

Mrs Servel added: ‘I am angry because there was no boat for us and there was no one to save my husband. I owe my life to him – it’s obvious he saved me.’

Others still missing include Barbara and Gerald Heil, of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, and Peruvian crew member Erika Soria.

On a mission: Members of the Guardia di Finanza of Livorno make their way out to the ship in the search for survivors. The rescue mission was suspended at nightfall

Popular spot: A general view of Giglio's harbour, near the location where tragedy struck



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