Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images
The Costa Concordia cruiseship lies on January 15, 2012 in the harbor of the Tuscan island of Giglio after it ran aground and keeled over off the Isola del Giglio after hitting underwater rocks on January 13.
The sinking of Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia last weekend has ripples in Southern California for a Downey family that survived the deadly five and a half hour ordeal.
Georgia Ananias spoke to KPCC's Hettie Lynne Hurtes on Tuesday, recounting the pandemonium experienced off the island of Giglio.
Ananias, a seasoned cruiser with over 75 voyages to her credit, detailed the screaming, crying, and bodies flying as it became clear that the boat's trouble was not the electrical problem the cruise personnel initially claimed.
Language barriers, misinformation and a lack of direction led to a chaotic shift into survival mode. "Four times we almost died," said Ananias, who got emotional as she told how her family starting saying their final goodbyes.
"The only way anyone survived was to stick together," the woman continued, remembering a painful moment of fighting gravity while gripping a staircase with one hand and holding a stranger's baby with the other.