NJ Survivors of Ship Disaster Blast Captain

"He abandoned us," said the Brick Township couple.

By Andrew Siff
|  Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012  |  Updated 4:19 PM EDT
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A New Jersey couple is back at home after surviving that deadly cruise ship accident off the coast of Italy.  News4's Andrew Siff has their story.

NBC New York

A New Jersey couple is back at home after surviving that deadly cruise ship accident off the coast of Italy. News4's Andrew Siff has their story.

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Addie King and Michael Stoll were safely back in their Brick Township home in New Jersey Tuesday night, five days after surviving the crash of a luxury cruise ship off the coast of Italy.

"We're lucky to be home and be OK, and to be alive," King, a passenger aboard the stricken Costa Concordia, told NBC New York.

The couple was among the more than 4,000 people who safely escaped the overturned cruise ship. At least 11 people died in Friday's disaster.

"Literally, if you've seen 'Titanic,' it was the scene right out of that," said Stoll. "All the plates, everything flying off the table."

Rescuers discovered the latest victims on the ship Tuesday after blasting holes in the hull.

Meanwhile, the ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, is charged with manslaughter and abandoning ship.

He reportedly refused to reboard the ship when a Coast Guard officer told him to and did not adequately answer officers' questions about bodies on the ship.

Stoll said Schettino was inept in his role as leader of the ship. "Not only did he not be able to think or function under pressure, he abandoned us." 

But Stoll and King said they felt bad for the crew, even though the staff didn't give emergency instructions.

"The woman was saying, 'Calm down, just go in the lounge and have a drink,'" said King. "And I'm like, I have to hold on to this pipe to keep from slipping."

The couple made it onto a rescue boat -- after they considered taking their chances in the Mediterranean.

"I said to her, 'Worst case scenario, we can make this swim, especially with this life jacket. We can make it,'" said Stoll. "She's like, 'I don't even want to talk about that right now.'"

King said they found a crowded rescue boat as they scrambled to leave the ship, and asked those on board if they had room for two more.

Now, the search for survivors enters its fifth day in Italy. Twenty-four passengers are still missing, including a couple from Minnesota.

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