Thursday, October 11, 2012
I found a May 2012 issue of Vanity Fair in a stack of books -- and found a very long article on the Costa Concordia -- that Italian cruise ship that hit the rocks. This is one of those minute-by-minute descriptions of what happened. At the time, I couldn't watch the films on the news. The whole thing of being trapped amidst panicky people scared me. I just didn't want to see it.
But reading is easier, but I do wonder -- just like I did during Hurricane Katrina or the USAir landing on the Hudson if I would be physically able to save myself. At the time I thought it would be easier to jump in the water, but today I was reading about those who died from hypothermia. There was one anecdote that reminded me of myself. Rescuers came up to one woman in the water and asked if she was ok. "I'm fine," she said and then added, "No, I'm not fine."
One haunting anecdote was about a bunch of people trapped where you had to pull yourself up to get out of an area full of water and this couple was able to struggle and do it, but behind them, still trapped was a couple with a baby with the water rising by the second. The mother handed the baby to the woman who had gotten out and asked her to take care of the baby. Like "save my baby because I'm going to die." The woman took the baby and then handed her back to the mother, saying that if they're going to die, they should die as a family. What?? I could never do that. I would definitely have taken the baby. As it turned out, the author said the parents and baby survived as far as he could determine.
The other thing that concerned me and my survival likelihood is that the author talked about people punching and shoving to get a seat in a lifeboat. I know I would not be that aggressive. One man tried to grab a lifejacket out of the hands of a woman. I think my tendency would be to let all the panicky screaming people shove their way into the first boats and then calmly be able to get in a boat. That might work, but then again, maybe the shovers and punchers are the ones who survive.
When I think about surviving, I have already surrendered to not trying to save anything. The author tells an anecdote about a woman clutching her laptop. I wouldn't do that -- and believe me, I've thought about it, but in my survival fantasies, I do want my wallet so that I will have money and credit cards once saved. I'm about 2/3rds of the way through, and there's lots of food for thought. Hopefully I'll never have to put into action any of this.
Just checked, and if you're interested, you can read this article on line at: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2012/05/costa-concordia-sinking-scandal-italy