Remember the sequence in the film Titanic when Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) jump into the cold waters of the ocean in an attempt to survive the sinking ship? Remember how Jack lets Rose cling to the last log of wood so that she survives and he sacrifices his own life. The story was, perhaps, one of the most romantic love stories Hollywood ever made.
Now, it seems reality may have mirrored fiction, on the overturned Costa Concordia luxury liner, near Italy's Isola del Giglio.
My husband gave me his lifejacket as we jumped off sinking cruise ship... I never saw him again, recounts 61-year-old Nicole Servel, one of the French survivors of the Costa Concordia tragedy, who added she owed her life to her husband.
Go on my darling, swim straight ahead, I will get myself out, Francis Servel, a former French Air Force pilot and her husband, told her.
There weren't enough life jackets. I can't swim so he gave me his life jacket. He shouted jump, jump, jump. I froze and couldn't jump, but he jumped off the ship and shouted come on, don't worry. I jumped off and the last thing I heard him say was that I would be fine. Then I never saw him again, a heart-broken Nicole said, remembering the last time she saw her husband.
Francis was a strong swimmer and insisted he would be able to make it to the shore without any help, revealed his family members at their home in Toulouse, reports Mail Online.
Nicole, with her life jacket on, swam and somehow managed to reach the shore. She said it was the thought of her children and her grandchildren that kept her alive in the cold water. When she reached the shore, villagers from Isola del Giglio took her to a church that had been turned into a rescue camp for survivors at that time.
Nicole returned to France soon after she was discharged from the hospital, where she was treated for hypothermia and is currently at her family home at southwest France. Later, Nicole and Francis' daughter, Edwige, flew to Italy to formally identify her father's body and is still waiting for official approval to bring him home.
This is one of many stories that emerged after the cruise ship crashed into rocks off the Italian island of Isola del Giglio, on Friday night. The cras left 11 people dead and 21 are still missing. There are many people who have given their testimonies of the last moments when people were asked to evacuate the vessel.
Survivors tell tales of how there were fights among people to get into life boats, how men refused to let women, expectant mothers and children board the life boats and pushed themselves forward to escape.