Kentuckiana man onboard Italian ship that ran aground

Published: Jan. 14, 2012 at 3:24 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 14, 2012 at 3:50 AM EST
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Joe Ryan (Source: Larry Ryan)
Joe Ryan (Source: Larry Ryan)
Costa Concordia (Source: NBC)
Costa Concordia (Source: NBC)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - An Italian news agency reports at least six people died as their cruise ship started to sink off the Tuscan coast. A Kentuckiana man was among the thousands of other passengers who were rescued and are now back on dry land.

The Costa Concordia was carrying 4,200 people when it ran aground and started sinking less than two hours after leaving port. Joseph Ryan from Pleasureville in Henry County was onboard the ship. The 24-year-old's father, Larry, says he called home Friday night to tell his mom and dad not to worry, that he was ok.

"I got a call from a number I didn't recognize and when I answered, he said, 'Dad this is Joe. Don't panic. Everything is fine,'" Larry said. "He said, 'You're probably going to be hearing about this cruise ship.'"

But Joe's story about what happened is chilling.

"I guess they were at dinner," Larry said. "They said the glassware and things started falling off the table and then the lights went out and they were told to go through the evacuation procedure."

Larry says Joe was calling him on a borrowed cell phone from a church. He had no time to go back to his cabin to get any of his belongings.

Joe Ryan was taking his Italian vacation with a group of friends from Eastern Kentucky University, where he is a graduate student.

Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.