'I want to work for the same ship again'
But parents of Costa Concordia survivor Florence Joseph are against the idea of her going back
For Florence Joseph's family, last Saturday was a tumultuous day. It was a day when anguish turned into joy and only culminated into jubilation yesterday.
Florence Joseph (extreme left) with her family
The 28-year-old arrived at Mumbai airport yesterday, a week after she escaped death while working on Costa Concordia.
"The feeling of being alive only sunk in when I saw my family at the airport. I was in tears when we finally met. I had thought I would never get a chance to see them or my fianc �," said Joseph.
Narrating the sequence of events of that tragic night, Joseph said, "There was a sudden blackout in the ship. The captain said through the intercom that the lights had gone off owing to an electrical problem, and would be restored soon. I was serving passengers.
Suddenly I fell to the right side. I realised something was seriously wrong. Unable to get up after hurting both my elbows, I sought help from a colleague.
I then stationed myself on the left side (portside) and helped some senior citizens and children evacuate. After that, we were rescued. But unfortunately I couldn't retrieve any of my documents."
On January 14, Joseph had called her family. "We received a call at 5 am, but my younger sister Maggi disconnected the line thinking it was a prank call," said Mary, one of her siblings. Joseph then called her fianc � informing him that she was safe. Her fianc � then called Joseph's home.
The sisters, however, didn't want to say anything to their father as he had suffered two paralytic strokes last month. Fearing that his health might deteriorate further, the sisters chose to stay mum on the issue.
"We started praying to Jesus to protect her. We were dying to hear from her. The time from 8 am to 11 am was testing. Finally, at 11 am we received a call and heard her voice," said Mary.
After being rescued by the authorities, Joseph was dismayed by the behaviour of the Indian embassy officials.
While other embassies were quick to tender help to their citizens, Joseph said, "It was shocking to see our officials arrive so late. One of my colleagues had to call the embassy in Rome.
He informed them that there were hundreds of Indians on board the cruise. To which the official replied, 'Oh, we thought there are only a few Indians on the ship.'
We were looked after by the Red Cross till the Indian authorities arrived." "But after that they also supported us for compensation from the company," she added.
However, Joseph who has been associated with the company for the last four years has decided to go back to the cruse liner, if possible.
"My parents don't want me to continue, but I would love to work with the same cruise again as one can die anywhere. My documents are missing since the accident took place and I am going to apply for the same," said Joseph.