|Mrs. Emma Ponzi is reunited with her
son Antonio, one of the survivors of the collision section on C Deck where 26 died.
Earlier she ws reunited with her daughter Marcella.
Interview with Antonio and Marcella Ponzi
Antonio Ponzi believes it was destiny that brought
him and his sister, Marcella, to the Andrea Doria. They were originally booked on
another ship but due to medical reasons they were delayed and later booked passage on the Andrea
Doria leaving from Naples.
Antonio was 14 years old and shared Tourist Class cabin 664 on C
Deck with Antonio Lombardi who was in his twenties. His sister Marcella was in a different
Tourist Class cabin. Marcella was 20 years old and loved to dance and spent the last night
out on the dance floor. The movie in Tourist Class that night was "Fox Fire", an
English film that Antonio did not care to see.
Before retiring for the night Antonio took a stroll on deck.
"The fog was so thick you can't see your hand in front of you and the horn going off
every five minutes," he remarked. After returning to his cabin with Antonio Lombardi
they prepared themselves for sleep. He asked Antonio, "Do you want me to shut the
light off? he says yea. No sooner that I pulled the switch for the light when we heard
this big bang and we didn't know what the heck happened. All I know is we felt that the
ship was somewhat not even. All of a sudden water started coming into the cabin",
remarked Antonio. Antonio Lombardi says "we better get out of here." "At
the time I was about five feet tall and before we tried to do something it was already up
to my neck." said Antonio.
"When Antonio tried to get the door open it would not open, there was a rumble and a
piece of ceiling, like a rafter fell off from the top and he used that to break the door
down. That's how we got out. Water was coming through the hallways and everyone was
During the ascent to the upper decks the two Antonio's separated and they never saw each
other again. Antonio remembers, "I was as thin as a toothpick, I wouldn't even be
able to break a board never mind the steel door. I owe my life to this guy."
Antonio, clad only in his underwear, ran around the ship trying to
find out what was going on. "They were announcing not to worry, nothing had
happened," said Antonio, "Meantime you can see the ship is at an angle."
People were screaming and looking for spouses and kids. An announcement was made for the
ladies to remove high heels, some didn't. "I saw people from the higher side of the
boat sliding down to the lower side of the boat and I saw a couple of people going through
On deck the damp night air was taking its toll, "I was freezing and this gentleman
who was an American, a real tall fellow, he had an overcoat on and gave it me."
explained Antonio. Finally an announcement was made to prepare to abandon ship, "They
tried to care of the kids and ladies first. Someone tied a rope around my waist and
lowered me to a lifeboat." Antonio was taken to the Stockholm.
Marcella was dancing when she heard "a big bang. Then everybody
thought something exploded, the lights went out and everything was dark for awhile and
then the lights went on again. My dance partner said my hair got completely white. The
ship was already on the side and everybody was falling all over the place. I probably was
one of the fortunate to get off the ship right away. I went on the Cape Ann."
Separated, neither one knew the fate of the other. When Marcella
arrived in New York, she found her mother waiting for each ship to arrive hoping to find
her children. "
On the Stockholm's slow voyage to New York the crew treated
the survivors well. "They gave us food and something warm to wear, even
cigarettes," remembers Antonio. "I watched the Andrea Doria sink, and
you look into the water and thinking your sister is down there, I cried because I was
A tearful and joyful reunion between mother and son followed the Stockholm's
arrival in New York
Antonio Ponzi would like to find Antonio Lombardi to thank him,
please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you
know his whereabouts.