'They sought luxury service in sinking ship'

'They sought luxury service in sinking ship'

The second batch of survivors, to arrive at Bengaluru International Airport (BIA), from the wrecked Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia, had to face a delay of seven hours before they could set foot on Indian soil. The Emirates flight (Ek 564) originating from Dubai faced a ‘technical trouble’ causing the delay.

The batch consisted of five cabin crew, Reshma K, Mohammed Jameel Ahmed, Ajay, Joy Fernandes and Dinesh S. All the survivors, apart from Jameel, are from Mangalore.

Their flight was originally scheduled to land at BIA at 8.50 am but arrived at 1.30 pm with the immigration process taking an additional one hour.

Reshma, who has been working with the parent company Costa Crociere, said the crew did not delay the rescue operations as reported.

“The passengers gave us a lot of trouble as they created chaos, blocked ways and closed doors through which help could be attained,” she said.

She said that many of her colleagues chose to dive into the cold waters to allow more space on the lifeboat for passengers to escape.

Jameel said passengers reacted to the situation in a negative way. “They expected luxurious hospitality service even when the ship was sinking.” Jameel saw children, couples and senior citizens rolling down the starboard side of the ship.

“I also saw a person getting into the lift which is the most dangerous action during such a situation. I failed to stop the lift and I do not think he is found,” he said.

As of Friday, 11 have been confirmed dead. A few passengers who were interviewed by the media in the USA blamed the crew for not conducting the mock drill for the passengers and said that alerted the passengers to evacuate only an hour after the ship crashed into the reef.

Dinesh, who got selected through an interview held in Mumbai in 2008, said: “We were given training for one week every time we switched ships. In our ship, we are allowed to take long breaks as per our needs but safety is the first priority .”

While all the survivors reside in Bangalore city, four of them have their families back in Mangalore.
Jameel’s childhood friend, Kevin George, was at the airport to welcome him. Kevin recounts the day when he received messages from his friend claiming his ship was sinking.

 “At 7.45 am, I woke up to find 12 missed calls and many messages. The same day, hours after the news broke, I got in touch with Jameel, who informed me that he had lost all his belongings but he was safe,” said Kevin.

The four survivors assisted by Ministry of External Affairs and Regional Passport Office officials, got onto a flight bound for Mangalore at 6.30 pm.

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