Italian Ship Disaster
January 17, 2012 by staff
Italian Ship Disaster, Emergency workers are searching for 29 people missing from an Italian cruise disaster that has killed six as the ship’s captain faced an interrogation on accusations that he veered wildly off course.
The head of the Italian coastguard, Marco Brusco, said there was “a glimmer of hope” for finding more survivors since the giant half-submerged vessel had not yet been fully inspected, but rescuers said the chances were now slim.
Brusco said four crew members and 25 tourists, including six Italians, remained unaccounted for. A German official said at least 10 German nationals were still missing and two US nationals were also believed lost in the tragedy.
Six bodies have so far been found in the wreck of the Costa Concordia, which occurred off the coast of the picturesque island of Giglio late on Friday the 13th.
Three of the victims – two French passengers and one Peruvian crew member – drowned after jumping into the chilly Mediterranean waters to escape.
Rodolfo Raiteri, head of the coastguard’s diving team, told AFP on the shore: “The conditions inside are disastrous. It’s very difficult. The corridors are cluttered and it’s hard for the divers to swim through.”
Choppy seas forced a temporary evacuation of the stricken 17-deck Costa Concordia for several hours on Monday after the ship slipped on a rocky shelf under the sea, sparking fears that the hulk could sink entirely.
Giglio mayor Sergio Ortelli warned that the stricken vessel, which hit submerged rocks and keeled over off the island holiday spot, was an “ecological timebomb” in the pristine waters of a marine nature reserve.
The head of the company that owns the vessel said it had hit a rock as a result of an “inexplicable” error by the captain, Francesco Schettino, who was arrested on Saturday along with first officer Ciro Ambrosio.
“He carried out a manoeuvre which had not been approved by us and we disassociate ourselves from such behaviour,” said Pier Luigi Foschi, the boss of Costa Crociere, Europe’s largest cruise operator.
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