Michigan couple recalls Italian cruise ship wreck

Published On: Jan 16 2012 09:46:44 PM EST
Updated On: Jan 17 2012 04:19:23 PM EST

Steve and Kathy Ledtke will never forget this "vacation," and for all the wrong reasons.

DETROIT -

A Fort Gratiot, Mich., couple was on the Italian cruise ship that ran aground Saturday near Italy's western coast.

Kathy and Steve Ledtke's dream vacation was not supposed to end that way.

"It was complete chaos, and it was every man for himself," Kathy Ledtke said. "Nobody knew where to go. Nobody was in charge."

UNCUT INTERVIEW: The Ledtke's

On Friday, the couple was embarking on a seven-day cruise near Italy's coast. For three and 1/2 hours it was smooth sailing aboard the Costa Concordia.

Then, in a matter of minutes, the Ledtkes' world took a turn for the worst, literally.

"We heard a thud, and you could just hear the whole boat shook," said Steve Ledtke.

Steve and Kathy were inside a restaurant having dinner when the ship struck a bed of rocks. They were among the more than 4,000 people trapped inside the sinking ship.

"I was kind of surprised. The overhead was advising people to go to the theatre or to their rooms," Steve said. "I mean, it was obvious to me the boat was going to go down."

The Ledtkes said the cruise line never conducted an evacuation drill.

"The second mistake was definitely keeping us sitting there for an hour and 1/2 without getting us off the ship," Kathy said.

When the evacuation finally did happen, the Ledtkes' said it was nothing but unorganized chaos.

"They kept adding them and they were desperate people so we wanted them on there, but on the other hand it was like get this boat down and get us away from this ship," Kathy said.

Several people were killed and more were injured. Some are still unaccounted for. Kathy and Steve escaped with just the clothes on their backs.

"It should have been an enjoyable, wonderful trip and this was just a bad choice, bad decision for that captain," Kathy said.

The Ledtkes had an emotional reunion with their daughter at the airport Monday in Michigan.

The couple is pointing the blame on the captain, who has been arrested, becuse they said it was obvious the ship was too close to the shore.


Comments

The views expressed below are not those of Click On Detroit, WDIV, or its affiliated companies. By clicking on "Post," you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and your comment is in compliance with such terms. Readers, please help keep this discussion respectful and on topic by flagging comments that are offensive or inappropriate (hover over the commenter's name and you'll see the flag option appear on right side of that line). And remember, respect goes both ways: Tolerance of others' opinions is important in a free discourse. If you're easily offended by strong opinions, you might skip reading comments entirely.

blog comments powered by Disqus