Stu­dents adrift off Brazil for 40 hours sang songs to pass time be­fore res­cue

Cape Breton Post - - NATIONAL - BY SU­SANNA KEL­LEY

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.

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