Search begins for Concordia's missing

2013-09-24 14:21
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rome - The search for two bodies still missing 20 months after Italy's Costa Concordia cruise ship tragedy began on Tuesday off the island of Giglio, Italy's civil protection agency said.

Salvage workers, who pulled the doomed vessel upright from its watery grave last week in an unprecedented operation, "have ensured the ship is secure and given the green light to begin the search", a spokesperson said.

"Specialist divers from the coastguard, fire brigade and police have begun scouring the area between the righted ship and the land," she added.

The team is looking for the corpses of Italian passenger Maria Grazia Tricarichi and crew member Russel Rebello, whose bodies were not recovered after the night-time disaster on 13 January 2012, which left 32 people dead.

They will also be assessing how best to carry out the search within the wrecked liner if necessary.

Franco Gabrielli, head of Italy's civil protection agency, had earlier said that the righting of the ship gave searchers a chance to access parts of the vessel previously off limits.

"When the ship toppled, corridors became deep wells. Now she is upright, we can get to areas previously off limits," he said, adding that there would likely "still be areas it is difficult to access and search."

‘Captain Coward’

The Concordia had 4 229 people from 70 countries on board when it struck rocks just off Giglio after veering sharply towards the island in a bravado sail-by allegedly ordered by its captain, Francesco Schettino.

It lurched over onto one side during a chaotic and delayed evacuation, throwing terrified people into the freezing sea and preventing some lifeboats from deploying.

Dubbed "Captain Coward" and "Italy's most hated man" in the tabloids for apparently abandoning ship while passengers were still on board, Schettino is currently on trial in the Tuscan town of Grosseto.

On Monday, he told the court that the ship's Indonesian helmsman was to blame for causing the accident, after misunderstanding a crucial order.

His defence team also asked permission for experts to go aboard the wreckage to determine whether technical problems contributed to the disaster, after reports that some safety mechanisms failed to function, aggravating the situation.

Schettino, who is on trial for manslaughter and abandoning ship, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Read more on:    francesco schettino  |  italy  |  costa concordia  |  maritime accidents

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.