A MOTHER from Wellingborough survived the sinking Costa Cordordia and made contact with her sister from the decks as cries of panic and terror could be heard around her.
Ex-Wrenn School pupil Tamara Sturman was with her 12-year-old daughter Sadai as she rushed to the decks to get a lifeboat amid scenes of chaos as the boat shifted from side to side before leaning on an angle.
In a harrowing text message, she contacted sister Sam Sturman, who lives in Midland Road, Wellingborough, to say the cruise ship was sinking and describe the panic around her.
Sam, who was watching television with a cup of tea when she got the text at 10.30pm, called Tamara twice before being cut off as ship staff hauled her and Sadai on to a lifeboat.
Six hours later Tamara texted her sister again to say she was safe and well in a fishing village on the coast of Italy.
Sam, 39, told the Evening Telegraph: “When I got the text I just couldn’t believe it – I turned on the TV and there was nothing about it. So I rang her to see what was going on. She told me the boat was sinking and she and her daughter had their life jackets, but there was so much screaming and panicking going on around her she could hardly hear me.
“I rang her again a while later and she said she was going to get on a lifeboat but the line went dead – I was in total shock.”
Sam spent the next few hours waiting to hear official news before watching pictures on the television of the luxury cruise ship tilted on its side, stranded on the rocks below.
Sam said: “I was really happy to hear they were safe, the evening and morning was a panic for the whole family.”
Tamara, who took the cruise ship holiday as an alternative to visiting England for her holiday, said she would be returning to Wellingborough later this year.
Growing up in the town, she attended Park Junior School and Wrenn School before moving to Nottingham and Weston-super-Mare and returning to live in Irchester for three years.
She worked for Homeserve in the town before moving to Minorca in 1998.