Lakeville woman and sister on board wrecked Italy cruise ship

1:39 PM, Jan 17, 2012   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - A Lakeville woman and her sister had only been aboard the Costa Concordia several hours before they felt the cruise ship hit a bump near a Tuscan island.

Ronda Rosenthal and her sister, Vivian Shafer, boarded the ship for a weeklong Mediterranean cruise. Shafer is on leave from the Army.

Rosenthal's husband, Jeff, says the cabin steward told the sisters the ship was experiencing a "small technical difficulty." When the ship began to tilt and things started to fall off the table, the sisters headed for a lifeboat.

The Star Tribune says when they finally made it to shore, Rosenthal called her husband in Lakeville to say they were safe.

At least six people have died in Friday's wreck. The search continued Tuesday for 29 people still missing. Family members say a White Bear Lake couple, Gerald and Barbara Heil, are among the missing.

Also among the survivors was a Wisconsin businessman from Oshkosh.

Oracular CEO Mike Kajian was five days into an eight-day
Mediterranean cruise when the ship struck rocks in shallow water a few miles from shore.

Kajian says he and some friends just sat down for dinner when the ship began to tilt. Plates, food, glasses and wine fell to the floor. Passengers fell out of their chairs. Lights flickered off, alarms sounded and children screamed as Kajian made
his way back to his cabin to collect a life jacket and coat.

Kajian tells the Oshkosh Northwestern the chaos was made worse by the lack of an emergency drill before the cruise

Kajian made it into a lifeboat and eventually, to shore.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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