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08 December 2023

Hubby gives life jacket to wife, dies in cruise mishap

Rescue workers inspect the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground off the west coast of Italy at Giglio island. Rescue workers searching the half-submerged hulk of an Italian cruise ship for missing passengers and crew recovered a sixth body on Monday, more than 48 hours after the vessel capsized off Italy's west coast. (REUTERS)


The widow of a Frenchman who died on the Costa Concordia luxury liner gave a chilling account Monday of how her husband sacrificed his life by giving her the only life jacket they had.

"I owe my life to my husband," said Nicole Servel, 61, whose husband Francis was one of at least six people to die when the luxury liner ran aground off the Italian coast on Friday night.

"He said to me 'jump, jump'. And as I don't know how to swim, he gave me his life jacket. I was hesitant about jumping. So he went first. Then I jumped. I floated on my back," she told RTL radio.

"I called to him, he shouted back: 'Don't worry! I'll be all right.' The water was barely eight degrees. And then, I never saw him again," said Servel, whose children gave her the Mediterranean cruise as a 60th birthday gift.

Servel, from the southwestern city of Toulouse, lashed out at the ship's crew, some of who reportedly abandoned the ship before the passengers: "There was no one to save my husband... We were alone."

Servel said she was in the water until she was washed up against some rocks from where villagers rescued her and took her to a church to recover in the warmth.