Michael Moscatiello's Recollection
It happened almost 43 years ago, but Michael
Moscatiello, the father, still has nightmares about that terrible night aboard
the Andrea Doria.
"I still have dreams about it. I see people drowning. I see people crying and trying
to save themselves...It all happened so fast." Michael, who was 15, his mother
Angela, and his 21-year-old brother Luigi survived the accident that claimed 51 lives.
Michael was sound asleep aboard the Italian ship when it collided with the Swedish Liner
Stockholm off Nantucket at about 11:30 p.m. on July 26, 1956.
"I was in a cabin sleeping when I heard the noise," Michael remembered. He
awoke to find he had been thrown to the floor by the force of the crash.
"My mother, she was scared. There was water coming in. We went up to the second
floor, where the swimming pool was." Michael was still in his pajamas, and had no
"We lost everything. (But) you never think about money or anything, you try to save
yourself." Somehow they were lucky enough to find Michael's older brother. Luigi,
before the lower decks were sealed off. What happened after that is a blur.
"There was so much confusion. People were jumping in the water. They were drowning.''
Because the ship was listing, a rope was dropped off the high side of the sinking ship.
People had to climb up it, then climb down the rope and into the lifeboats. Not everyone
could do it. "I still see an old lady--she was about 90 years old. She tried to
slide down the rope. You had to raise yourself onto the top (of the ship), and then grab
the big rope and throw yourself down. There was nothing else you could do. You
had to try to save yourself and you had to do your best." The elderly woman didn't
make it, he said. The Moscatiellos were waiting in line to get to the lifeboats when
Angela Moscatiello pushed her two sons into the last two seats of a lifeboat. Later, her
sons learned she boarded another boat. Michael remembers falling into the water, and some
one rescuing him. Then he was unconscious for a while. When he awoke, he was on the floor
of a rescue ship. Michael looked out on the water, and saw the Andrea Doria sinking into
the Atlantic. But the wreck of the Andrea Doria is not the end of Michael Moscatiello's
A year later, his brother Luigi drowned in Snyders Lake
in North Greenbush. It was a hot June day, and the Moscatiello boys had gone with several
other youths to Snyders Lake. "We couldn't even speak English," remembered
Michael. Somehow Michael fell into a deep spot in the lake.
"I went down. My brother tried to save me. But God didn't want me... My brother
raised me up, but he went down in the hole. I found myself saved, and my brother drowned.
The tragedy contributed to Michael's nightmares about the Andrea Doria.
"Every year around the anniversary , I can't go near the water. I'm scared to go in
the water. It's like a dream. I see everything with my eyes.
It's something you never get over. I will never forget."