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“I would say power failure caused by harmonic interference and then it can’t propel straight or navigate and it hit rocks,” Latarche said.

Many passengers complained the crew didn’t give them good directions on how to evacuate and once the emergency became clear, delayed lowering the lifeboats until the ship was listing too heavily for many to be released.

Several other passengers said crew members told passengers for 45 minutes that there was a simple “technical problem” that had caused the lights to go off.

Seasoned cruisers knew better and went to get their life jackets from their cabins and report to their “muster stations,” the emergency stations each passenger is assigned to, they said.

Passengers said they had never participated in an evacuation drill, although one had been scheduled for Saturday. The cruise began on Jan. 7.

Miriam Vitale, a hostess on the cruise liner who disembarked earlier this week in Palermo, told SkyTG24 the ship conducts a drill every 15 days. She said that since passengers on the Concordia embark or disembark every day, some passengers could miss it depending on which day they begin the trip.

Surviving passengers huddled under woolen or aluminum blankets in a middle school on the Italian mainland of Porto Santo Stefano, where passengers were ferried early Saturday from Giglio. Some wore their life preservers, their shoeless feet were covered with aluminum foil.

Christine Hammer, from Bonn, Germany, shivered near the harbor as she waited for a bus to take her somewhere — she didn’t know where. She wore her gray cashmere sweater and a silk scarf with a large pair of hiking boats loaned to her by an islander after she lost her shoes in the scramble. Her passport, credit cards and phone were left in her cabin.

Hammer, 65, said the ship lurched to the side as she ate an appetizer of cuttlefish, sauteed mushrooms and salad on her first night aboard her first-ever cruise, a gift to her and her husband, Gert, from her local church where she volunteers.

“We heard a crash. Glasses and plates fell down and we went out of the dining room and we were told it wasn’t anything dangerous,” she said.

Alan and Laurie Willits from Wingham, Ontario, celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary, said they were watching the magic show in the ship’s main theater when they felt an initial jolt, as if from a severe steering maneuver. That was followed a few seconds later by a “shudder” that tipped trash cans over.

The subsequent listing of the ship made the theater curtains seem like they were standing on their side.

“And then the magician disappeared,” Laurie Willits said.

Miami-based Carnival Corp. issued a brief statement Saturday.

“Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the grounding of the Costa Concordia and especially the loved ones of those who lost their lives. They will remain in our thoughts and prayers in the wake of this tragic event.”

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