NJ couple talks about escaping sinking cruise ship

January 17, 2012 3:17:10 PM PST
A couple from New Jersey ignored the advice of crew members to relax and have a drink and evacuated the sinking cruise ship in Italy. Ignoring that advice may have saved their lives.

"The scene from the Titanic when the plates fall, it was exactly like that," said Michael Stoll, cruise ship survivor.

Michael Stoll and his wife Addie were enjoying an Italian dinner on board the Costa Concordia Friday night when there was a sharp jolt, and then the ship began to tilt.

"I said let's get out of here, let's get our life vests,"

With dishes shattering around them, the newlyweds ran to their room, packed their valuables in a backpack and headed to the lifeboats.

All the while, crew members were telling passengers there was nothing to worry about, and that they should relax and have a cocktail.

"They said it was an electrical malfunction,"

"One of the crew members said go in, have a drink, calm down. And then we heard plates crashing,"

45 minutes later, the captain finally gave the order to start boarding the lifeboats.

But Mike and Addie say the passengers were on their own.

"It was chaos; people were pushing and shoving,"

Mike and Addie are grateful they got off the ship safely on one of the first lifeboats.

But they can't understand how the captain could put so many lives in jeopardy.

"You have to give orders, you have to give a signal, you are in charge of all of these people, you have to be responsible and he wasn't,"

The couple eventually made their way back to Rome and flew home Sunday night.

Their luggage is gone, sunk with the ship, but they're grateful to be back on dry land.

"Things could have gone worse, people died, we got out,"

After a few days of relaxing at home, Mike and Addie will go back to work and school Wednesday.

They say that will be their first and only cruise.

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