A Blackpool dancer forced to swim for her life when the Costa Concordia cruise ship sank has today spoken of her traumatic experience – following the conviction of the doomed vessel’s captain.
Rosalyn Rincon was working as an entertainer on the ship when it hit rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio and capsized on January 13, 2012, killing 32 people.
The Layton woman was performing in a magic show and was inside a magician’s box as part of a trick when the tragedy happened.
Speaking of her ordeal, the 33-year-old, who is now sueing the crusie operators, said: “It felt like a horrible nightmare, I was trying to help other passengers get to safety and then suddenly realised that there were no other lifeboats.
“It dawned on me that I was not going to be rescued – I couldn’t stop shaking and started to really panic.
“We were told by the crew to jump into the water and swim as far away from the ship as possible – I knew I had no choice other than to jump from the back of the ship.
“I was absolutely terrified but I knew it was the only way to get off the ship – loads of passengers and crew started to jump into the water below and swam to the shore.
“When I got home, my family and friends noticed a dramatic change in me, I had lost all my confidence and struggled to come to terms with what had happened.
“I was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and started counselling sessions to help me with the flashbacks and I eventually stopped having nightmares.”
Captain Francesco Schettino, 54, has been found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 16 years in prison over the incident. He took the liner too close to the shore and then abandoned ship while passengers and crew were still on board, the court heard.
His lawyers had argued that it was a collective failure of the ship’s crew and that others should share the blame for the disaster.
He is set to appeal the decision.
Following the court case, solicitors acting for Ms Rincon, and other passengers who suffered severe physical and psychological trauma as a result of the disaster, spoke about their continuing legal battle.
Philip Banks, partner and specialist international personal injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “It was over three years ago when the Costa Concordia sank. This is unthinkable in modern times and was life-changing experience for those onboard.
“All of our clients suffered a horrendous ordeal which some may never truly overcome. The trauma they have been through has left some of them needing specialist therapy and counselling to come to terms with what happened and enable them to begin to move on with their lives.
“Although nothing can turn back the clock, the settlements we have already secured will help those affected to access the treatments they need, cover their lost earnings from time they have had to have off work and replace the personal items they lost on board. It will also compensate them for pain and suffering.
“We are now continuing to fight for the rights of the remaining passengers and crew whose cases have not yet settled.”