Cruise disaster: British survivor acted as ‘human climbing frame’ to save passengers

“He grabbed me by the cuff and pulled me into one of the boats.

“My life was that ship for six months, and now it’s gone.”

Speaking from his home, Mr Thomas recalled the terrifying moment the ship hit
the rocks – admitting his first thought was to make light of the situation.

“It was all very surreal at first. It felt like we were in a film,”
he said.

“Me being me, I started doing an impression of Michael Jackson in the
Smooth Criminal video where he’s almost horizontal.

“The ship was listing so much, our centre of gravity had completely
shifted.

“Then it became more of a panic. Our first officer came on to deck four
and shouted for everyone to get over to the other side of the ship.

“We rehearse safety procedures every week but this was a different
situation.

“We couldn’t get the lifeboats off and the life rafts that the staff use
were stuck to the side of the ship. It was frightening.”

Mr Thomas’ safe return to the family home comes as the death toll from the
tragic disaster rose to six – after the body of a male passenger who had
been wearing a life jacket was found.

Earlier coastguard divers discovered the bodies of two men, a 86-year-old
Italian and a 68-year-old Spanish national, under water in the ship. Two
French passengers and a Peruvian crewman also died in the disaster.

The cruise liner’s owner Carnival Company has suggested there may have been “significant
human error” by the captain Francesco Schettinoas with investigators
looking into reports that he might have been “showing off” when he
steered the vessel too close to rocks.

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