Local Honeymooners Survive Cruise Ship Nightmare

Lancaster, Pa. couple survives the capsizing of the Italian cruise ship they were on for their honeymoon

By Teresa Masterson
|  Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012  |  Updated 5:56 AM EDT
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A Lancaster couple were one of the last lifeboats off the Italian cruise ship that sunk just hours after they were married.

NBC Philadelphia, Katy Zachry

A Lancaster couple were one of the last lifeboats off the Italian cruise ship that sunk just hours after they were married.

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Shipwrecked Honeymooners Return Home

Newlyweds from Lancaster returned to Pennsylvania Monday after escaping their sinking cruise ship off the coast of Italy.

Cruise Ship Survivors Reunite With Family

A Lancaster couple who survived a sinking cruise ship, returned home to their family Monday night.
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Newlyweds Robert and Megan Mauri planned a romantic cruise in Italy for their honeymoon. The trip ended with the couple trying to escape a sinking ship.

"It was a very scary experience, seeing everyone panic the way they did" said Megan Mauri as she arrived at Philadelphia International Airport on Monday.

The Lancaster, Pa. couple was aboard the Costa Concordia, an Italian cruise ship, for their honeymoon when the luxury ocean liner struck a rock in the Mediterranean off the coast of Porto Santo Stefano Friday night, according to friends and family.

"We ran back to the cabin and we knew we were in trouble when we were on the second deck and the toilet water was starting to ... the ship was titling so bad that the toilet water was flowing out, into the hallway" added Robert Mauri.

The bride, who is originally from Oxford, Pa., and her husband were among the 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members who had to escape the sinking ship.

The bride and groom were fortunate to be safe and sound, as the sinking ship resulted in six bodies found in the waters around the ship and 16 others unaccounted for, including two Americans. (The Americans have been identified by family members as Jerry and Barbara Heil of White Bear Lake, Minnesota.)

The ship's tilt made many of the life rafts useless, and helicopters had to rescue dozens of people still on board. The Mauris say there was chaos aboard the boat.

"The crew didn't seem like they knew what they were doing" said Robert.

The chairman and CEO of the cruise line says the captain made an unauthorized change-of-course that led to the deadly crash against a reef.

The captain is behind bars. He's being investigated for manslaughter, abandoning the ship and causing a shipwreck. Passengers say he made his way to safety before everyone on board had been evacuated. And the Italian coast guard says he rejected their efforts to get him to return to the ship.

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