Costa Concordia waitress died after she gave life jacket to elderly man
Published 30/01/2012 | 09:57
A YOUNG Peruvian waitress whose body was recovered from the shipwrecked Costa Concordia has been hailed a heroine.
Erika Fani Soriamolina's body was found by divers on the sixth deck of the vessel wearing the ship's uniform but no life jacket.
Witnesses said Soriamolina had helped dozens of terrified passengers into lifeboats on the night of the disaster before giving the life jacket to an elderly man.
A tourism graduate, Soriamolina was working on only her third cruise on the Costa Concordia .
The recovery of the young woman's body ended a desperate search by her parents and sister Madeleine who were among the family members of passengers and crew waiting for news of their loved ones on Giglio.
On Saturday the body of a woman found several days ago was identified as German passenger Inge Shall.
Seventeen people are now confirmed dead after the cruise ship struck rocks and ran aground on January 13 with 4,200 passengers and crew on board and more than 15 people are still missing.
The 17-deck Costa Concordia was run aground in the rocky bay about an hour after its captain, Francesco Schettino, misjudged a 'sail-past' of the Italian island of Giglio and rammed it into rocks, ripping a massive tear in its hull.
Schettino is under house arrest at his home near Sorrento, accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship along with first officer Ciro Ambrosio.
Meanwhile, there were fresh concerns on Sunday about a potential environmental disaster after experts discovered the ship had moved 1.4 inches over a six-hour period from midnight to 6am.
Search and salvage operations were suspended after the move was detected while heavy seas and strong winds also made it unsafe to continue operations.
A barge carrying pumping equipment that was attached to the capsized ship was withdrawn on Saturday and it was unclear when operations might resume.
One of the scientists monitoring the ship, Professor Riccardo Fanti from the University of Florence, said the ship's latest movement was of serious concern. Until now the ship has been moving 3 to 4 millimetres an hour.
"This is much higher than before," Prof Fanti said on Sunday. " It is the highest rate we have recorded. We are very concerned about this acceleration." Experts are concerned that the ship may slide off the rock shelf where it is perched into deeper water before salvage teams can recover the 2,400 tonnes of fuel on board and avert an environmental disaster in Giglio, a popular marine reserve.
Franco Gabrielli, the head of the Costa Concordia emergency operation, on Sunday said it would take "seven to 10 months" to remove the wreckage of the ship from Giglio once the fuel had been removed.