As the Costa Concordia sank into the Mediterranean, an Irish couple named Seamus and Carol Moore prepared for the possibility of imminent death.

Now, as the bodies of two elderly people are recovered from the wreck of the sunken cruise ship, and Capt. Cosimo Nicastro is placed under arrest for abandoning the Italian vessel, the Moores are sharing their story with the press.

Seamus Moore describes everything, from the chaos on board the sinking Costa Concordia, which many are already comparing to the sinking of the Titanic, to the moment when he and his wife Carol decided they were going to fight to survive.


Survivors of the wreck told news reporters that everything was in chaos as people tried to get into the lifeboats on Friday.

It was just battling, mad scrambles, American student Brandon Warrick told CNN. A giant every-man-for-himself.

His sister Amanda said the worst part was the waiting, drifting on the ocean for two hours while waiting for rescuers to arrive.

We didn't know who was going to be coming, how much longer we would have to wait, she said.

But for Seamus and Carol Moore, from Clonmel, County Tipperary, the panic began as early as 9:10 p.m., when the cruise ship they were sailing on for Carol's 50th birthday celebration began to tip wildly as it headed toward the rocks.

The Ship Goes Down

Seamus Moore first realized something was wrong on the Costa Concordia when the ship began to rock around 9:10 p.m.

The ship tipped badly, Moore said. First one way, then the next.

At first, the Moores thought it was simply an electrical failure. That's what the staff of the cruise ship kept telling passengers.

But around 9:30 the vessel start lifting out of the water. The Moores knew the cruise ship was going down.

How a big modern ship could end up the way it did so quickly is unreal, Seamus said. The cabin windows were now on the cabin floor.

The couple ran to the deck to wait for the lifeboats. Seamus and Carol Moore found one and got in, but disaster struck: the overfilled lifeboat jammed and wouldn't go into the water.

The pair of us climbed back onto the deck, Seamus told The Irish Mail. We did a lot of climbing, I can tell you.

That was when the waiting began.

'That was when we began to think the worst.'

It was very scary. We were sitting on the side of the boat for two hours. That was when we began to think the worst.

Carol and Seamus had left their daughter and two sons at home. The thought of not seeing them again was pushing Carol to the edge, and both began to believe that they were about to die.

We rang a friend who was minding our 15-year-old, Seamus said. We told him to tell the kids that we loved them.

The couple asked the friend not to say anything to their daughter Claire unless the worst happened. She had an exam to take the next morning, and her parents didn't want her to mess up her test because she was worried.

Seamus then told their family friend to contact his lawyer to sort out his will. Then the couple decided they were going to try and survive, no matter what.

We said: Look, we'll just make decisions as situations change, and do what we can, Moore told BBC News.

Help Arrives

But luck was on the Moores' side.

Around 2:30 a.m. Saturday, another lifeboat arrived. The couple slid down the side of the boat several feet in order to reach it.

But 20 minutes later, Seamus and Carol Moore were back on dry land, and were able to call their children and tell them that they were all right.

A few people decided to swim to shore, Moore recalled. The couple we are staying with in the hotel here in Rome swam to safety but were frozen cold afterwards.

'We're presuming some of the people we met didn't make it'

If the boat had tipped the other way [while we were waiting for a lifeboat], we would have been dead, Seamus Moore said. It is down to luck that we are here.

As of this writing, five people have been confirmed dead in the Costa Concordia tragedy, with dozens still missing. Many of those who have been found are missing loved ones or have lost everything to the sinking ship.

I am getting a bit emotional, Seamus Moore said. The couple are now preparing to be reunited with their children Luke, 22; Claire, 19; and James, 15. We're presuming now that some of the people we met on the boat didn't make it.

Seamus, who says this was his first and last cruise, is happy to be alive. But he can't help but think about the people he met on the cruise ship's maiden voyage.

We have sent some texts and have yet to get a reply, so we are thinking the worst, Moore said. But, obviously, we don't know for sure.

Below, watch raw footage of the Costa Concordia during and after the cruise ship's sinking: