A year after cruise ship disaster, local survivors still struggle

A year after cruise ship disaster, local survivors still struggle »Play Video
The cruise ship Costa Concordia leans on its side Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012.
SEATTLE - One year ago 32 souls were lost when the cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground off the Italian coast. Among the survivors were two women from our region who wish the night was one they could forget.

Karen Kois and Lynn Kaellin were on the Costa Concordia when it ran aground.

"It's been a hard year," says Karen. "We're hoping just to be able to put it behind us and move on. We certainly don't want to dwell on it."

" I live it every day," she adds. "I live that moment that I made the decision that I wasn't going to leave a voicemail for my family. I didn't want them to lose me that way."

The women were separated in the scramble to safety - and still have trouble sleeping. They say they're dealing with symptoms of post traumatic stress.

"I have a real hard time with water - like if I see ship out in the water I don't want to look at it. It's still haunting me," says Lynn.

Sunday, on the anniversary of the wreck, many survivors returned to the wreckage of the Concordia to place wreaths for each of the 32 victims.

The captain of the ship is charged with abandoning ship and manslaughter. If he goes to trial and is found guilty, he could spent 20 years in prison.

Newly released infrared video shows the frantic and chaotic rescue operation the night the ship ran aground.

"No one had any directions at all, and we were packed," says Lynn.

The video shows people scrambling desperately - trying to get off the ship.

"The whole thing was just very rude," says Lynn. "I don't think anyone had any compassion or caring for us. We were like cattle. I asked a couple of crew members if I could have a bottle of water, and he goes, 'Nope, it's for the crew.'"

The women have hired an attorney and are exploring their legal options. As they deal with their haunting past - they also remember to look to the future.

"How many people - when you know you're going to die, don't die - and can really realize what an amazing life you do have," says Lynn.