Lankan survivor on board wrecked Italian vessel recounts ordeal

Asela Kruluwansa

Amila Danushka Kahadagamage of Gamini Pura, the only Sri Lankan on board the Italian luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia which ran aground earlier in the month, arrived home safely last week.

Kahadagamage had been working on the cruise liner, which could accommodate up to 3,500 passengers from October 2011. The ship had hit a rock on its return voyage from France on January 13.

Kahadagamage told the Daily News that the ship started to slant towards one side. “At that time, the passengers were having dinner. Tables and plates started to topple and the people started screaming in fear. Adding to the chaos, the electricity system,” he said.

“Within one hour of the incident, the Captain informed passengers to prepare to abandon ship. Children, pregnant women, women and men boarded the lifeboats in that order of priority,” he said.

Kahadagamage managed to board a lifeboat around 1am and reached land around 4.30 am.

He said that he had to wait until January 19 to enter the country. He had lost his passport and had to pay Rs 10,000 for a replacement passport.

 

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