(AFP) – Jan 15, 2012
SEOUL — A South Korean honeymoon couple have described their 30-hour nightmare trapped in a wrecked Italian cruise ship, saying they screamed for help for hours after waking up too late to evacuate the vessel.
The couple were rescued Sunday morning after being stranded in the half-submerged ship, where a search for people still missing out of more than 4,200 originally on board was underway.
Five people have been confirmed dead and more than a dozen are still missing after the Costa Concordia hit rocks off Italy's west coast on the evening of Friday the 13th.
Prosecutors have arrested the captain and first officer for alleged mishandling of the incident and neglect of duty.
Han Ki-Deok and his wife Jeong Hye-Jin, both 29-year-old schoolteachers, said in an interview with South Korea's Yonhap news agency published Monday that they had been sleeping after dinner, oblivious to the disaster outside.
"By the time we woke up, the ship was tilting," Yonhap quoted Han as saying in a hotel in Rome.
The couple ventured out to the corridor, which was already inclined so steeply that they couldn't walk on it, he added.
"We ended up slipping towards the end of the corridor and even got ourselves injured," said Han.
So the pair stayed in their dark cabin with no power, subsisting on bits of cookie and water. They took turns wearing an extra life jacket over their own lifevests to fight the cold.
They shouted for help until they were hoarse and blew whistles attached to the lifevests, promising each other they would "have a good life together" if they escaped.
"The room was pitch dark. We could only tell whether it was day or night outside through a ray of light coming from a small hole on the wall," said Jeong.
They tried to consume as little food as possible, worrying they "may have to be here for quite a long time", Jeong said, adding she felt "a life's saviour" had arrived when rescuers found them.
The pair were taken to hospital for checkups. South Korea's foreign ministry said they are in good health.
The couple, the last among 34 South Koreans rescued from the ship, said they now want another honeymoon --- but "never a cruise tour".
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »