Cruise ship couple talk of their life since the disaster
A MARRIED couple who escaped the horrors of stricken cruise ship the Costa Concordia have spoken of how they forced themselves to move on after the disaster.
Engineers have successfully righted the ship 20 months after it ran aground off the Italian island of Giglio and Viv and Derek Ebbage, from Westmancote, near Tewkesbury, said watching the event on television had been an odd experience.
Mrs Ebbage told the Echo: "It was strange watching it and seeing our cabin being uprighted, as it's been high in the air for ages.
"It's been a huge amount of engineering, a huge amount of work. It has to be removed from where it is, it's a beautiful coastline. Costa will pay for it."
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The retired teachers were eating dinner, five days into their cruise when the ship hit the rocks last January.
They were nearly left behind as they helped others get to safety and gave way to people pushing and shoving past them.
Mrs Ebbage said: "There was nobody telling you what to do.
"You expect to have a boat drill but there wasn't one."
They managed to clamber aboard a lifeboat to get away from the stricken vessel after it ran aground by the island of Giglio, off the Italian coastline.
But 32 people died in the disaster and the Ebbages appreciate how lucky they were not to have been among the victims.
The grandmother and mother-of- three said a series of talks she had given on her experiences had helped in overcoming the hellish experiences of 20 months ago.
"It's helped a lot in putting things behind me. It's something in the past now. We are never going to get our possessions back from there, but we have our lives.
"There were some people who needed psychological help because of what they went through.
"We look back on it and think 'we are alive and that's wonderful.'
"It makes you realise that some things don't matter."
The Costa Concordia has a gross tonnage of 114,000 and is more than 951 feet long.
It capsized in January 2012, killing 32 people and Capt Francesco Schettino is on trial charged with manslaughter and abandoning ship. The trial is set to reconvene in Grosseto in Tuscany, on Monday.
The bodies of two of the victims of the disaster, by the island of Giglio, have never been found but there are hopes that they may be located during the salvage operation.
Months of work lie ahead, assessing and repairing damage to the ship, before it can be towed away to be destroyed – probably next spring.
Mr and Mrs Ebbage have each accepted an 11,000 euro (just over £9,000) offer of compensation by the boat's bosses.