Adam and Joanna Lynch from El Dorado County are among the survivors of that cruise ship that ran aground and sank off the coast of Italy.
Back home in Placerville, one of their sons, Gerald, is tending to the family's consignment store, Gorilla Kids, and was upset when he heard the news.
"At the moment, I was really scared. I sort of broke down a little bit, emotionally," he said. "My mom is the type of person who'll put others before her, so I didn't know what happened, and if she just stayed on the ship to sacrifice for the other people."
The Lynches were watching a magic show on the ship when something went terribly wrong.
"They heard this huge loud boom. Everyone told them it was an electrical problem," Gerald said.
Joanna's sister got a call too about the dream cruise ending abruptly, and deadly, for some.
"There weren't enough life boats initially for everybody. So they waited until the boats came back a second time," Melody Rainwater said.
While waiting, the self-sacrificing nature Joanna's known for came out, as she reportedly refused a life jacket of her own.
"She was giving away life jackets to elderly and people who were in wheelchairs," Gerald said.
The Lynches finally got ashore safely, but they hadn't ruled out other options had staying on the ship gotten more dangerous.
The Lynches had to wait for new passports in Rome. The family hopes to get on their regularly scheduled flight home to California Tuesday night.