Cruise Ship Disaster: Victims Call Their Mothers To Say Goodbye

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I’ve been glued to my computer absorbing every last detail of the Costa Concordia sinking. It’s embarrassing to admit, really, but the images are everywhere and I just can’t turn away. Like most people, I would imagine, I’m most interested in hearing tales from survivors – where they were in the exact moment disaster struck and what they did to get out alive.

What’s especially fascinating to me is the fact that many of the luxury ship’s passengers called their mothers the minute they realized what was happening. Like Angela Castellani, a 35-year-old musician from Mantau who was on a “dream vacation” with husband Diego Schiavo.

“Mama? It’s me. This is terrible. I don’t know if we will see each other again. The ship is sinking and we haven’t been able to reach safety yet.  No, no, don’t cry. Let’s pray, mama, let’s also pray for all of the people who like me are near death.”

According to, these are the words spoken by Castellani when she called her mother from the sinking ship (the couple were seated at a table in one of many on-board restaurants when disaster struck). Castellani reportedly spoke with her mother for nearly 30 minutes, seeking comfort.

It may seem odd to some – I wonder what her husband thought! – but the idea of seeking comfort from our mothers at any age is actually quite natural. In fact, a recent study conducted at the University of Wisconsin found that texting, for example, can’t replace the comfort that comes from a mother’s voice. Researchers observed young girls texting in a stressful situation; those hearing their mom’s voice tested significantly lower for the stress hormone than those texting.

Fortunately, both Castellani and Schiavo survived the Costa Concordia tragedy – they jumped into the water and were later rescued and taken ashore. According to the piece, Castellani called her mother back and, through tears, told her, “I am alive and well.” (Sadly, not everyone was so lucky.)

Rosalyn Rincon was in a magician’s box, helping in a magic act, when the Costa Concordia ran aground. The 30-year-old woman immediately called her mother, Claire Rincon, to tell her the ship was sinking. Claire told BBC News:

“Rosalyn was a bit hysterical, saying the ship was sinking. But seeing she’s a dancer and they do drama, I just thought it was all a bit surreal. You don’t hear about big ships sinking like that nowadays, so I said: ‘You’ll be fine. Just find your friends.'”

Rosalyn then told her mom that she had to go because the ship was leaning. “Then I was left in limbo, basically. I went white as a sheet and didn’t know anything until the morning,” Claire said. (Rosalyn’s boyfriend, who was also on board, called her early the next day to let Claire know her daughter was safe.)

Interestingly, another mother out there also didn’t quite get the severity of the situation at first. According to, James Thomas, 19, called his mother, Jayne Thomas, to tell her the ship was tilting. James works as an entertainer on the cruise line and, according to his mom, his usual way of keeping in touch is via email.

“James, it’s Friday the 13th – are you messing around?” Jayne asked her son.

“No, mom, we’re really in trouble,” he replied.

James told his mom he’s never been frightened in his life, and she told him, “You must not get into the sea, you must get a life jacket and you must get into a lifeboat.”

Thankfully, James made it out alive and is now safe at home.

In all three of these instances, it’s unfathomable to even attempt to understand what it must have been like for these women to receive that dreaded call. It truly gives me the chills.