Dobbs Ferry welcomes shipwreck survivors

Retired teachers from Westchester who were rescued from a sinking ship arrived home safe on Saturday.

The 38 women were among 1,500 passengers aboard the Sea Diamond when it struck a well-marked reef April 5 in waters off Greece, causing it to take on water. The passengers had to be evacuated.

Friends and relatives eagerly awaited their return Saturday at Dobbs Ferry High School. Among the worried family members was Dobbs Ferry Mayor Joseph Bova, whose 77-year-old mother escaped from the wreck.

Each passenger had a survival tale to tell. "I just became so strong. I just didn't want to die. I wanted to live. I was determined to get here," said 66-year-old Marianne Salerno, who climbed down nearly 80 feet on a rope to safety.

The ship's captain was charged Saturday with negligence, breaching international shipping safety regulations and polluting the environment. Authorities also questioned five officers who worked on the vessel. However, all six were set free; the investigation will continue next week.

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