Woman Who 'Jumped' From Cruise Ship Wakes, Denies Jumping

Attempted murder investigation opened
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2015 1:00 PM CDT
The Costa Concordia, not Fortuna, is shown.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Laura Stuardo fell from her cabin balcony on the Costa Fortuna cruise ship while it was docked in a Norwegian city on July 19, and authorities thought she had jumped—a theory she could neither confirm nor deny, as she was in a coma after being rescued. But now the Italian 53-year-old has woken up, and she says she did not try to commit suicide—prompting authorities to open an attempted murder investigation, the Washington Post reports, citing Italian paper La Stampa. Stuardo told police she and her abusive boyfriend went on the cruise in an attempt to repair their relationship, but argued in their cabin shortly before her fall.

"I don’t remember if he pushed me, but I certainly didn’t want to commit suicide," she told La Stampa. "It was an extremely long drop"—115 feet, to be exact—"I screamed, then there was the impact with the water. I don’t remember anything else.” As WGN reports, a surveillance camera "captured Stuardo hanging from the balcony for a few seconds before she fell over the railing." After several operations in Oslo, she was flown to Turin still in a coma. Her boyfriend Giovanni Pia, 55, initially told police Stuardo jumped despite his unsuccessful attempt to stop her. Police have not officially named Pia a suspect, but Stuardo's ex-husband, who has been visiting her, told La Stampa, "I have given orders to police and doctors to stop any contact with Mr. Pia." (This woman doesn't just vacation on a cruise ship—she lives on one.)

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