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Downey family ‘faced death 4 times’ on Costa Concordia cruise

January 17, 2012 |  9:01 am

A Southern California family is back home after surviving an ill-fated cruise on Costa Concordia, the ship that capsized off Italy's Tuscan coast last week.

A husband, wife and two daughters from Downey recounted a harrowing experience trying to escape the submerged cruise liner.

Georgia Ananias described it as a 5.5-hour "grueling experience."

PHOTOS: Cruise liner runs aground

"We faced death four times," she said. "It's very unsafe. Cruise lines have to change."

The family criticized safety procedures and said cruise ship personnel need to be better trained.

At one point, a man handed over their baby, fearing that he would not be able to survive.

The family also appeared on Dr. Drew Pinsky's show on HLN.

The vessel ran aground on rocks Friday near the island of Giglio. On Tuesday, the bodies of four men and a woman were recovered. All appeared to be passengers. At least 24 people were believed to still be missing, including two Americans.

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-- David Begnaud, KTLA News