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Northern Illinois Family Survived Italian Cruise Ship Disaster

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The Salzburg family -- Jo, Jim and Mary-Jo -- talk about their experience fleeing the cruise ship that partially capsized off the Italian cost last week. (CBS)

The Salzburg family — Jo, Jim and Mary-Jo — talk about their experience fleeing the cruise ship that partially capsized off the Italian cost last week. (CBS)

Pamela Jones Pamela Jones
Pamela Jones serves as a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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RICHMOND, Ill. (CBS) – Members of a northern Illinois family are sharing their harrowing experience aboard the ill-fated cruise ship that partially capsized off the coast of Italy.

Jim and Jo Salzurg and their daughter, Mary-Jo, were among the thousands of passengers on the Costa Concordia, the luxury liner that hit a reef along the Tuscany shore Friday.

At least six are dead and several more – including two Minnesota residents – are unaccounted for.

The Salzburgs heard a thud, and a loud scraping noise before the ship started to tilt. Within minutes, the announcement “abandon ship” blared over the loudspeaker.

They say it was complete chaos as the ship took on water.

“I knew that I couldn’t rely on Costa, the crew, nobody else,” Jo Salzburg tells CBS 2’s Pamela Jones. “We had to do it, so I told my mom, ‘You have got to use those legs like you’ve never used those legs before.”

Jim says he had one foot in a lifeboat when it suddenly dropped into the water.

“For a while, I thought that we weren’t going to make it,” he says.

The Salzburgs eventually ended up on the island of Giglio but were at a disadvantage, not being able to speak Italian.

They have heard the theory the captain got too close to the island, perhaps trying to show the ship off for friends.

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