A scene of panic and confusion. That is how passengers are recalling the moment they had to abandon the doomed Costa Concordia.
Video filmed by one traveller has emerged, capturing the moment a lifeboat became stuck.
A group of American tourists were among those who decided they would be better off jumping into the water and swimming to safety.
“There were some people who were really panicking. There was this girl who was just really, really worried I guess and she was kind of like grabbing hold of some other people so it was kind of dangerous when you are all swimming, you know people hit you in the face,” one of them said.
“We’re pretty adventurous and we’re very good swimmers so we weren’t worried. But there was a family from France right by us with a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old and the parents and they jumped and swam just like us,” another member of the group added.
Passengers reported hearing a loud rumbling sound as disaster struck.
It is claimed it took half an hour before people were led to lifeboats. Those who reached the safety of a nearby island felt abandoned.
“When we arrived in the port, we got off and in a sense were abandoned,” an Italian passenger said.
“No-one from the ship could actually do anything to help us. Those who did help were the Giglio island residents.”
It remains unclear how the giant ship was able to run aground so close to the shoreline.