****I am sad to announce the passing of my brother, Anthony Grillo on October 21st, 2004. Please keep visiting, being patient with the hopeful continuation of his website. Sincerely, Vivian Grillo****

 

Emma_Antonio_Ponzi.jpg (55438 bytes)

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
8/28/99

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 screaming."
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 glass doors."
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 lost."

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 agrillo@andreadoria.org if you know his whereabouts. 

Send mail to webmaster@andreadoria.org with technical questions or comments about this web site.
Send mail to agrillo@andreadoria.org to contact Anthony Grillo about the contents of the web site.
All original material Copyright 1998-2003  Anthony Grillo, all others are the Copyright of their respective holders
Last modified: Tuesday, September 11, 2007