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Local Family Aboard Italian Cruise Ship

Costa Concordia
Joan Fleser

4,200 passengers were aboard the Costa Concordia when it went down over the weekend just off the coast of Italy.  Three members of a Duanesburg family were included in that number and fortunately, survived to talk about it.  Joan Fleser, her husband Brian Aho, and their daughter Alana had boarded the ship just hours before it ran into rocky reef off Italy’s Tuscan coast and tipped onto its side into the ocean. 

The family told NEWS10/ABC that they were having dinner in the ship’s dining room around 9:30pm Friday, when they heard a loud, grinding noise.  They ran to the deck of the ship to see what had happened and when they got there, “people were running and very obviously distraught looking for life jackets,” Fleser stated.  Despite making it into a lifeboat and back to land, they lost their passports and wallets and were left with no money.

Costa Concordia
Joan Fleser

Fleser also told NEWS10 they have been in contact with the US embassy and the company that owns the crusie liner.  They were able to get temporary passports and have booked a flight that will land in Albany some time tonight. 

Rescue work is temporarily suspended of the Costa Concordia.  The death toll is currently up to six while about 16 passengers are still missing.  The ship is 951 feet long and 17 decks high.  Accusations are being directed at the captain of the ship who supposedly abandoned ship before everyone had safely evacuated.  Another accusation states he was showing off when he steered the vessel too close to the Tuscan coast.  The ship was only 150 yards from shore at the time.

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