A NORTH-EAST singer who escaped the Costa Concordia disaster says he is determined to face down his traumatic experiences and sail again.
Ian Fraser jumped from the stricken Italian cruise liner and swam for his life after the vessel ran aground with 4,200 people on board off the coast of Tuscany on Friday last week.
Eleven people are confirmed dead and more than 20 are still missing.
Speaking from his home in Esh Winning, County Durham, yesterday, Mr Fraser, a variety show singer, said he would not sail again this year, but vowed to return to the seas.
He said: “I am telling myself I will go back. I need to earn a living.
“There is no doubt it will be dreadfully traumatic to go back on. Those memories will always stay with me.
“I have thought long and hard about what that first night back on board will be like. I think it will be hard.”
Mr Fraser, 47, also spoke warmly of Captain Francesco Schettino, who is under house arrest on suspicion of multiple manslaughter.
He said: “I was not in his close circle of friends, but I knew him and found him a nice man. He was very pleasant.
He enjoyed the shows.”
Mr Fraser, originally from Birmingham, moved to the North-East 22 years ago. He has lived in Esh Winning for 16 years and has been a cruise singer since 1997.
He set sail on his second contract on the Concordia on September 5 and was due home on March 10.
Mr Fraser was eating and watching television in his cabin at about 9.50pm when the ship ran aground.
He went to the back of the Concordia, then the starboard side before jumping from deck four, which should have been 50ft up, but was at sea level.
With about 50 others, he swam to shore and clambered up rocks. He spent the first night on a church floor before returning to the home of his girlfriend, Lotty, in Warwickshire, on Sunday night and then to Esh Winning on Wednesday. He said: “It is a comfort to be back, back on land and safe.
“I just want to get my life back in order. I lost everything on the ship.”