Students adrift off Brazil for 40 hours sang songs to pass time before rescue
with the media, save for one who gave a brief description of what it was like on the rafts.
“It’s kind of a blur, but I got through it so that’s all that matters,” said Olivia Aftergood.
The 42 Canadian high school and university students were among the 64 people aboard the Concordia, which sank in rough seas, some 500 kilometres off the Brazilian coast Wednesday.
The shipwreck left them adrift on the ocean for two nights, at times in the rain.
“It seemed as if it was taking forever (to get everyone in the lifeboats), but it could have been 15 minutes,” said English teacher Mark Sinker, who added they were constantly bailing water out of the rafts.
The sense of time dragging was also experienced at home by his father, Wayne, who spent seven hours not knowing whether his son was alive or dead.
“But the final outcome is great,” he said. “It was certainly an experience to see him come out of that gate.”
Shelley Piller, whose 17-yearold daughter Elysha was a student on the boat, brought a big fuzzy pink blanket.
“Because I love her, and I’m a mom, and I want to put it around her,” she said.
The students were taking part in the Class Afloat program, run by the West Island College International of Lunenburg, N.S.
The ship’s captain, William Curry, has said although the Concordia’s crew had prepared the day before for what they anticipated would be rough weather, the ship suddenly keeled.
When it keeled again the ship’s sails were exposed to the powerful wind and within 15 seconds the boat was lying on its side and began to sink. The captain said it slipped beneath the waves 30 minutes later.
The CEO of the program said efforts are underway to continue classes on shore at the school’s administrative office — a historic building known as Lunenburg Academy which can accommodate about 50 students.