UPDATED: WKU student on cruise ship disaster off Italian coast

Many WKU students travel abroad during their winter breaks, but none may ever experience what Lauren Moore, a Bowling Green student, did.

Moore was aboard the Costa Concordia, a cruise ship, when it ran aground and capsized off the Tuscan cost of Italy Friday night. The wreck has left at least eleven people dead and more are currently missing. The captain of the ship has since been arrested.

“I’ve always heard that a captain is supposed to go down with the ship, so it was very disappointing to learn that he was some of the first that had evacuated,” Moore said in an email.

Her immediate thought was to stay calm and to think about what to do, she said. Moore’s group of friends were separated in the chaos but she and another friend managed to grab a cell phone and a wallet.

“It was chaos everywhere. People were screaming and crying and panicking,” Moore said. “There was no direction being given.

“It was a scene straight out of a movie.”

Moore said she and her friends were all very lucky to get on the first round of life boats that went to nearby Giglio Island. The group stayed up all night before they were ferried back to the mainland where they took a bus to Rome. 

“From there, we had to go to the U.S. Embassy in Rome to get emergency passports to book a flight back home for the next day,” she said. “Looking back, I feel so grateful that we got out of there as quickly as we did. We came back with nothing, other than the clothes on our backs, but some people didn’t even manage to make it out of there.

“Being a part of something as tragic as this really puts things in perspective as to what is important.”