Local couple talks about escaping sunken cruise ship off the coast of Italy

FORT GRATIOT, Mich. (WXYZ) - They were supposed to sampling French cheese and sipping wine in Marseille, France on Tuesday, but instead the Ledtke's are at home recovering from a nightmare.

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Kathy and Steve Ledtke boarded the Costa Concordia on Friday night – three hours later it started sinking.

"It's incredible how things can change in your life. You go from eating dinner to struggling for your life," Steve said.

The couple was  eating when it happened. They had just finished unpacking and made their way to one of the ship's elegant dining halls. The two were enjoying cocktails and appetizers when the Concordia slammed into a bed of rocks.

"We were sitting at this large round table and all of sudden we heard a big thud," Steve said.

Kathy and Steve say there was immediate disorder and chaos.

"Plates were crashing. People were falling over," Kathy said.

The boat started tilting. Without even thinking about it the couple from Fort Gratiot made their way to the lifeboats. They didn't even consider going back to their cabin to retrieve their belongings.

But instead of being let aboard the lifeboats they were confronted by crew personnel who repeatedly told them the ship was simply experiencing an electrical problem.

The Ledtkes didn't buy it and they waited almost two hours to be lowered into the chilly sea below. They were taken to shore where they stayed overnight in a crowded church. The next morning the Ledtkes took a crowded boat back to Rome and flew home.

Their thoughts now are with the families whose loved ones are lost.

"I feel for these families. They're still searching for people," Kathy said.

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