Tyne & Wear

Cruise ship survivor Ian Fraser vows to go back to sea

Ian Fraser
Image caption Mr Fraser said he will return to the seas in the summer as a cruise ship singer

A cruise ship singer who swam to safety from the sinking Costa Concordia has said he will return to sea.

Ian Fraser jumped from the Italian liner when it ran aground with 4,200 people on board off the coast of Tuscany.

Now, a year after the tragedy that claimed 32 lives, the 48-over-old from Esh Winning, County Durham, said he would return to work in the summer.

He said he would not let the tragedy "define him".

To save his life Mr Fraser had to jump into the water and swim a few hundred yards ashore in the dark.

For the last 12 months, he has been singing in clubs in the North East, but said he was keen to go back to work for Costa Cruises.

He recalls on the night of the tragedy on 13 January, he was in his cabin having dinner and watching television when he heard a "terrible juddering sound".

'Stomach-churning fear'

He made his way on deck with hundreds of others, but said the lights went out and he began to feel a "stomach-churning" fear.

He said: "It was a case of jump now or you might never have a chance, because if the ship had turned we would have been stuck and never got out.

"I can remember the noise, panic and screams.

"That was real stomach-churning fear, I was thinking 'if the lights don't come on, what are we going to do?'

"But then the ship turned and by sheer luck blew us into shallow water on to rocks."

Image caption The ship has been lying on its side off the island of Giglio for the last year

He said: "I want to go back. Costa has said they want me back.

"I'm not sure how I'll react. It could be the first night in the cabin makes me claustrophobic.

"I know others who've been back have experienced difficult nights when they've had to go out on deck."

Mr Fraser added: "If the wind had been blowing the other way we'd have been in a deep channel and the loss of life would have been enormous that night.

"There is no doubt in my mind that there would have been hundreds of deaths.

"Someone said to me 'don't let it define you' and that is very good advice.

"I didn't die, I'm alive. I will go back in the summer, and who knows, I might last a week or I might be fine."

The ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, is accused of causing a shipwreck, manslaughter and abandoning ship before all passengers were evacuated.

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